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Legumes – valuable for crop rotation

Extreme weather events, the increasing development of resistance as well as growing political and social pressure are currently presenting crop producers with major challenges. Extending crop rotation by cultivating large-grain legumes can prove to be a starting point for counteracting this trend.


Cultivating large-grain legumes such as peas, broad beans, lupines and soy offers a number of advantages:

One of the outstanding advantages of legumes is their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen in symbiosis with their rhizobia. They are therefore able to largely supply themselves with nitrogen. After harvesting, residual quantities of nitrogen additionally remain in the soil, with the result that the amount of nitrogen required for the subsequent crop can also be reduced. 

Good root penetration and the resulting improvement of the soil structure are an additional advantage of legumes. Depending on the location and harvesting conditions, the improved tilth enables the effort involved in soil tillage to be reduced, up to and including cultivation without the use of ploughs.

Due to their deep root system, lupines can also loosen deeper layers of soil and therefore use water and nutrients from the lower soil strata.

The cultivation of legume/cereal mixtures also offers a number of advantages. Further information here.

But how can legumes be incorporated into crop rotation? Which legume is appropriate for which location? How does cultivation succeed in practice? You can find answers to these and lots of other questions besides at the Peas and Beans Demonstration Network.

The Peas and Beans Demonstration Network will be represented with a number of demonstration plots at DLG-Feldtage 2021. Extensive variety demonstrations  comprising broad beans, peas, lupines and soy await you at the legumes special. Various sowing times, sowing rates and row spacings will additionally be demonstrating current crop production issues. The options for mechanical weed control and mixed cultivation will also be demonstrated.

Demand and the need for domestic grain legumes are increasing at present, and the Arable Farming Strategy 2035 is demanding the expansion of crop rotation. Take the opportunity right now to deal more intensively with this issue and visit the legume special at DLG-Feldtage 2021. Together, we will find the right grain legume for your location!

Pictures and text by Katrin Stevens (Peas and Beans Demonstration Network)