Ag producers from across the Midwest came to Kearney to learn more about pulse crops at UNL’s Pulse Crop Expo. The expo was started with opening keynote speaker Luscas Haag, a K-State researcher with nearly a decade of pulse experience. Haag spoke to producers about the plant properties and his current research in growing pulses. Following the opening keynote producers had numerous breakout sessions to choose from. As well as networking opportunities with the seed dealers and end users that were also in attendance. The expo has been spearheaded by UNL extension researcher Strahinja Stepanovic and he was excited to see the strong producer turnout.
Pulses are a leguminous crop that are harvested solely for the dry seed. Dried beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas are the most commonly known and consumed types of pulses.
For many farmers in Nebraska and surrounding states pulses are becoming a popular cover crop option. There use as livestock feed and forage is also starting to gain popularity. One organic operation near Bertrand Nebraska is using pea’s in their crop rotation to help battle palmer amaranth.
Over the last year ag producers have become accustom to volatile international trade and its effect on commodity markets. The UNL Pulse Crop Expo offered an opportunity to for some to see if pulses could be a cash crop alternative. Todd Schulz, of the USA dry pea and lentil council, showed that pulses are under the same pressure as general commodities like corn, soybeans and wheat.