Farming News - Farmers encouraged to make the most of opportunities around pulse production

Farmers encouraged to make the most of opportunities around pulse production

Intercropping, varietal differences and trials being undertaken to demonstrate the importance of pulses to the arable rotation will be some of the key themes of the Processors and Growers Research Organisation’s Cereals stand next month.

Last year’s event saw the launch of the pioneering Nitrogen Climate Smart (NCS) Project, and visitors will be able to hear more about what’s been achieved so far by the 17 partners and hundreds of farms involved in the work to displace imported soya and significantly reduce CO2 emissions from UK agriculture.

Central to that conversation will be the British On-Farm Innovation Network (BOFIN) which leads the farmer engagement side of the work and will be present on the PGRO’s stand throughout the show.

BOFIN founder Tom Allen-Stevens has set out an ‘above and below ground’ theme.

“For this four-year NCS Project to have this much engagement in the first year is great,” says Tom. “But we need to build on this now and get proper action on the ground.

“We are already one year in and our energy and focus must now be on delivering what we need to in order for this project to fulfil its potential.”

Farmers are encouraged to talk to experts from the PGRO and BOFIN about how being carbon baselined, engaging with the PulsePEP network and being part of the community around the project will help them contribute to, and benefit from, the work.

On the first day of Cereals, maximising value from the pulse crop above ground will be the focus. Experts from the NCS Project will be on hand to discuss on-farm trials that can explore novel ways to achieve this, with the opportunity to become a Pulse Pioneer and be paid to join the quest.

BOFIN will be using a below-ground theme on the second day of the event to also discuss its soil health project, TRUTH, which focuses on the vital role of roots in producing high-yielding crops.

PGRO will be running a range of exhibitions at the stand, including demonstrations of intercropping and blocks of spring-sown beans.

A selection of pea and bean varieties will also be showcased, and PGRO will be discussing effective approaches to pulse agronomy, as well as the Pea and Bean YENs, which are still open for entry in 2024.

“Farmers are keen to know more ways to grow pulses, both in the conventional sense and with the new trends, such as intercropping,” says PGRO CEO Roger Vickers. “The trial plots on show at Cereals this year are a great opportunity to do this and to speak to our staff and tap into their vast wealth of knowledge and research in the sector.

“It is also a great opportunity to talk to us about the Sustainable Farming Incentive and the changes in crop rotations that it could bring going forward.”

Last month PGRO warned that growers ( should enter SFI agreements including pulses with the full knowledge of the impact it could have on their rotation in the future.

Dr Becky Howard, who authored the paper behind the warning, will be on the stand to discuss the issue in more detail.