Learning About Legumes
Learning About Legumes. I'm Greg Martin with today's Line On Agriculture.
They're small and packed with protein, fiber and great taste. I'm talking about lentils, dried peas and chickpeas. The northwest tier states grow most of the nation's crops and according to Todd Scholz, Director of the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council, it's a crop that gives back.
SCHOLZ: Because it's a legume it produces its own nitrogen and the nitrogen it uses is less than it produces so it leaves nitrogen for the next crop. So it fertilizes the ground and provides a yield improvement for grains without adding nitrogen. We pride ourselves because we produce a crop that produces nitrogen; it reduces the use of commercial nitrogen so you don't contribute to global warming.
Legumes make a great rotational crop for producers and Sholz says that legumes are fairly easy to raise so there are fewer passes over the field which can save you time and money. As I stated at the beginning, legumes are little power houses.
SCHOLZ: It's high in protein, low in carbohydrates and so it's a very healthy food, a source of protein without using meat so it give vegetarians an opportunity to eat but it's also a very healthy food for babies. It has folate in it which is good for nursing mothers and it's just a great food. So the crop itself is a great food, it's also very good for the environment and it's good for the farmer because it give him another marketplace.
Because of climate the northern tier states are well suited to raising legumes.
SCHOLZ: In the Pacific Northwest, it Idaho and Washington there's probably about a third of the production in the United States depending on which crop you are talking about. In peas and lentils I think we would claim about a third of the production. When you talk about chickpeas about 60-70% of the production in the United States is in Washington and Idaho.
Most producers are currently in harvest mode for lentils and dried peas with chickpeas a few weeks off.
SCHOLZ: With peas, dry peas I think we can say we're about 90% complete in the United States. In Washington and Idaho it's probably 90-95%. In North Dakota and Montana it's probably 95-98%. For lentil harvest it's a little bit later and so I think we're probably about 50% but we got delayed a little bit by the rain.
That's today's Line On Agriculture. I'm Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.