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Site by Dr Jodie Richardson

Why Legumes?

Grain legumes are often grown in rotation with cereal crops for their high nutritional seed value and their unique ability to develop a self-sufficient nitrogen-fixing symbiosis with soil bacteria.

Legumes Have Nutritional Benefits

Legumes include chickpeas, soy beans, beans, peas, lentils and peanuts.  Legumes are one of the best plant-based sources of protein and are generally relatively cheap for consumers to purchase.  This makes them a fabulous source of protein for both vegetarians and meat-eaters.

They are also low in saturated fat and have a low glycemic index.  According to the Grains & Legumes Nutritional Council they have been shown to help manage both cholesterol and blood glucose; reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes; and help with weight management.

(Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council)

Legumes Have Environmental Benefits
Water Demand

Compared to other sources of protein, legumes have a lower level of emissions and much lower water demand thereby making them a more sustainable protein source.

(CGIAR Annual Report 2013)

Nitrogen Fertiliser Demand

In general, there is poor Nitrogen management in the growth of major global crops.  In 2017, the global Nitrogen demand is approximately 114 Million Tonnes which is likely to increase at a rate of 1.5% per annum (FAO, 2017).

(CGIAR Annual Report 2013)

However, cereals on average only capture 30-50% of the N fertilizers we apply in the harvested seed. 

Where does the remaining Nitrogen go?

  •       Loss through nitrate leaching

  •       Microbial competition for soil N

  •       Soil and plant N volatilisation

    • N2, N2O, NH3, NOx

(\\https://phys.org/news/2016-10-fertilizer.html)

How do Legumes Help this Situation?

  •       Lower N fertiliser requirement

  •       Ability to form symbiotic relationship with bacteria to form root nodules and Fix Nitrogen

  •       Improve subsequent crops

Legumes Are An Economically Good Crop

As an example of the economical strength of legumes below are prices of grains in Australia on 9th August 2017 according to the igrain website. This table shows the difference in price for chickpeas ($900) compared to other commonly grown grains like wheat ($280), barley ($240), oats ($205) and maize ($310). 

(igrain.com.au)

So why Legumes?

As shown above, legumes are healthy for us, more environmentally sustainable and commercially profitable. 

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