Irrigated Peas in Teton County 2009
Pulse crops present a major opportunity to Montana farmers.
- Pulse crops utilize soil moisture efficiently.
- In Montana, farmers have incorporated pulse crops into their crop rotations to reduce the amount of land left fallow (idle). Pluse crop acres have increased from 350,000 in 2009 to over 700,000 in 2014.
- Pulse crops require little (if any) nitrogen fertilizer; instead they fix nitrogen from the air into the soil.
- Pulse crops help break disease and pest cycles in wheat and barley.
- The wheat or barley crop that follows a pulse crop can experience substantial rotational benefits, improving yield and quality.
- Pulse crops are versatile, adding flexibility to cropping systems. If growing conditions turn dry, pulse crops can be harvested or grazed for forage or terminated to conserve soil moisture - the soil will still benefit from nitrogen fixation, rotation, and having a cover crop.
Because Montana’s economy, farmers, and communities have so much to gain from expanded pulse production, the Montana Department of Agriculture seeks to help increase growers’ understanding of pulse crops, marketing opportunities, and profit potential.
The department works to attract more buyers and processors and encourage the expansion of existing companies, with the goals of increasing delivery points and in-state processing so that Montana farmers benefit from a strong marketplace.
As the pulse industry grows, Montana communities will benefit from job creation and increased economic activity resulting from additional in-state processing.