Pulse crop adaptation in the northern Great Plains
Additional Document Info
Pulse crops discussed in this review include soybean (Glycine max L.), dry pea (Pisum sativum L.), lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.), dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.). Basic maturity requirements, yield relationships with rainfall and temperature, relative yield comparisons, water relationships, water use efficiency (WUE), crop management, tillage systems, and the rotational impact of these crops on productivity were considered. With the exception of soybean, maturity requirements for pulse crops are met in most locations within the northern Great Plains. Yield was more closely related to growing season precipitation than maximum temperature for all pulse crops except dry bean and lentil. The inability to effectively relate weather parameters to dry pea and lentil yield may indicate broad adaptation of these two pulse crops within the northern Great Plains. Correlation analyses showed the productivity of chickpea, dry pea, and lentil to be most closely associated with each other and for dry bean productivity to be most closely associated with that of soybean, effectively grouping pulse crops into their respective cool- and warm-season classifications. Dry pea and chickpea had high WUE values, similar to spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Examination of plant water relations of these crops revealed an ability for chickpea and dry pea to grow at lower relative water contents than spring wheat. Increased wheat grain yield and/or protein following pulse crops under widely different N-limiting growth conditions indicated a consistent N benefit provided by pulse crops to wheat. Four general research needs were identified. First, comparative adaptation among pulse crops remains poorly understood. Second, best management practices and key production risks remain incompletely characterized. Thirdly, the knowledge of rotational effects of pulse crops in the northern Great Plains remains imprecise and inadequate. Fourth, genetic improvement for early maturity, increased yield, improved harvestability, and disease resistance requires attention. Pulse crops are poised to play a much greater role in diversifying cropping systems in the northern Great Plains but require that these key research areas be addressed so that their production potential can be realized.