Double Cropping Pulses with Short-Season Crops, Forages, and Cover Crops in Eastern Nebraska

Double Cropping Pulses with Short-Season Crops, Forages, and Cover Crops in Eastern Nebraska September 6, 2018

Double crops planted on June 12 after field pea harvest
Multiple crops were double cropped after an early season harvest of pulse crops in this field study at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead. (L to R) Corn (P7213R), soybean 2.0 (RX1827), grain sorghum (SP 25C10), grain sorghum (NK 2212), proso millet (Huntsman), sunflwoer (MY8H456CL), and forage sorghum (CaneX).

A research project is underway at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center (ENREC) near Mead to evaluate a double crop production system. The experiment was designed by University of Nebraska faculty and graduate students as a potential alternative to the traditional corn/soybean rotation commonly used in the area.

A corn/soybean rotation can often lead to soil degradation, over-reliance on pesticides and fertilizers, frequent outbreaks of diseases and insects, herbicide-resistance weeds, and increased financial risks associated with low market prices. Diversifying a crop production system by including additional crops or methods can help overcome many of these issues.

This experiment used yellow field peas as the first crop in the double crop system. Yellow field peas are typically planted in March and harvested in July. Although not evaluated in this experiment, winter wheat (seeded in September/October and harvested in July) could be another cool-season crop option and provide additional benefits by overwintering and protecting the soil. Wheat has the ability to perform well in eastern Nebraska. (See variety trial results and related article.)

The objectives of this project are:

  1. to evaluate the yield potential of pulse crops (field peas, lentils, and chickpeas) in eastern Nebraska. Current market prices for pulse crops are on this USDA site.
  2. to evaluate the feasibility of double cropping yellow field peas with short-season crops (corn, soybean, grain sorghum, millet and sunflower) and annual forages (forage sorghum and sorghum-Sudangrass) by measuring crop production and performing an economic analysis.
  3. to investigate the benefits of incorporating cover crops and livestock grazing into the cropping systems.
  4. to design the cropping system with an extended growing season that will minimize pesticide and fertilizer inputs and be more water-use efficient.

Pulse Crops Variety Trial

Although the double crop experiment is ongoing, an important component was to conduct a pulse crop variety trial to identify which varieties are best adapted to the environment in eastern Nebraska (Figure 1). The variety trial (Figure 2) was conducted adjacent to the double crop experiment at ENREC. Yellow peas, green peas, lentils, and chickpeas were planted early in the spring and evaluated for their characteristics such as flowering, maturity, plant height, test weight and yield (Table 1).

Short season crops (corn, soybean, sunflower, millet and milo), annual forages (forage sorghum and sudangrass) and cover crops were planted right after field pea harvest. The research is ongoing and data on yield and water use will be shared following harvest.

This research is being funded by the North Central SARE and the pulse crop seed industry including Meridian Seed, Pulse USA, Great Northern Ag, Arrow Seed, Montana Integrity, and NS Seed.
Weather conditions through the season for the double-cropped pulse crop trial in Saunders County, summer 2018.
Figure 1. Total precipitation and temperature during the growing season of pulses in Mead trial. Data collected from March 13 to September 4, 2018. References: FarmLogs/High Plains Regional Climate Center CLIMOD.

Trial Summary

  1. Location: Mead, Nebr. - Saunders County (GPS: 41°10'57.8"N 96°27'57.8"W)
  2. Weather info: see <em>Figure 1</em>
  3. Soil type: Silt Loam and Silt Clay Loam
  4. Tillage practice: no-till
  5. Previous crop: corn
  6. Seeding (date, rate, depth, inoculant):
    Yellow peas (04/05/2018, 310,000 live plants/acre, 1.5-2 inches deep, liquid and peat inoculant at a 2x rate)
    Green peas (03/30/2018, 310,000 live plants/acre, 1-1.5 inches deep, two different peat-based pea inoculants)
    Lentils (03/30/2018, 310,000 live plants/acre, 1 inch deep, two different peat-based pea inoculants)
    Chickpeas (04/12/2018, 300,000 for Orion and 220,00 live plants/acre for Frontier, 1.5 inch deep, diluted liquid inoculant plus a full rate of Verdesian N-Dure peat inoculant)
  7. Herbicide program: Sharpen 2 oz + Prowl 2 pt
  8. Harvest (date): yellow and green peas (07/12/2018); lentils (07/20/2018); chickpeas (08/13/2018)
Composite photos of three pulse crops planted in double cropping study
Figure 2. (L-R) Field peas, lentils, and chick peas planted in a double cropping study at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Extension Center near Mead. (Photos taken June 12.)

Table 1. 2018 Pulses Variety Trial at Mead, Nebraska (Saunders County). View print-friendly PDF version.
Variety          
Brand         
50% bloom (DAP)*Flowering ratingMatur
(1-10)*
Plant height (in)harvest
Moist.
(%)
Test wt (lbs/bu)Yield (bu/ac)*Yield (lb/ac)Yield rank
Yellow Peas
Agassiz Meridian Seed 58 Early 8 20.1 13.7 62.9 48 2893 1
AAC Profit Great Northern Ag 60 Late 6 27.6 23.2 60.8 45 2696 2
Jetset Meridian Seed 58 Early 10 24 12.7 63.7 44 2637 3
AC Earlystar Meridian Seed 58 Early 8 24.3 14.1 59.7 42 2516 4
CDC Inca Meridian Seed 60 Late 6 21.3 15.8 62.8 42 2493 5
Hyline Great Northern Ag 59 Mid 7 24.9 19.3 60.4 41 2468 6
AAC Carver Meridian Seed 58 Mid 7 27.6 14.8 62 41 2459 7
Spider Great Northern Ag 59 Mid 7 24.9 15.1 62.8 41 2452 8
CDC Saffron Meridian Seed 59 Mid 8 23.7 15.5 63.9 41 2445 9
4193 Montech 57 Early 8 21 13.3 62.4 38 2303 10
SW Midas Pulse USA 58 Mid 9 19.2 13.2 62.8 37 2231 11
LG Sunrise Pulse USA 57 Early 4 27.6 19.9 59.5 37 2210 12
1057 Montana Integrity 60 Late 8 29.4 13.7 64 37 2207 13
4152 Montech 58 Mid 7 23.7 15.5 62.3 36 2181 14
DS-Admiral Pulse USA 57 Early 10 21.6 12.7 62.7 36 2137 15
CDC Amarillo Meridian Seed 60 Late 5 27.6 22.7 59.4 36 2135 16
Nette 2010 Pulse USA 57 Early 10 18.9 12.2 62.6 36 2133 17
CDC Spectrum Meridian Seed 60 Late 3 29.4 24.8 58.7 35 2084 18
Bridger Great Northern Ag 57 Early 8 23.1 14.6 63 35 2084 19
Navarro Great Northern Ag 56 Early 6 25.5 14.8 62.3 34 2063 20
Salamanca Great Northern Ag 59 Mid 7 29.4 15.9 62.4 34 2027 21
LG Amigo Pulse USA 58 Mid 5 26.1 16.4 62.1 33 2001 22
Partner NS Seed 58 Mid 8 22.8 14.2 48.7 28 1693 23
Durwood Pulse USA 58 Mid 6 30.9 16.6 61.7 26 1555 24
Dukat NS Seed 56 Early 10 12.3 13.5 62.8 22 1318 25
Average of all Varieties 58 Mid 7 24.3 15.9 61.4 37 2217
Difference required for significance at 5% 3 4 5 8 12 716
Green Peas
CDC Striker Pulse USA 9 25.8 13.6 63.7 46 2740 1
Shamrock Great Northern Ag 10 17.7 13.4 62.4 44 2665 2
SW Arcadia Pulse USA 10 21.3 12.1 63.7 43 2556 3
CDC Greenwater Meridian Seed 9 27.6 13 63.4 41 2471 4
AAC Comfort Meridian Seed 3 30.3 26.2 58.1 39 2319 5
Empire Great Northern Ag 4 35.7 17.6 62.7 29 1761 6
Junior pea NS Seed 6 26.1 18.2 27 1650 7
Average of all Varieties 7 26.4 16.3 62.3 38 2309
Difference required for significance at 5%

2 5 4 2 10 648
Lentils
CDC Maxim CL Pulse USA 10 31 1835 1
CDC Invincible CL Pulse USA 10 29 1738 2
Chickpeas
CDC Orion Meridian Seed 12.2 53.9 40 2418 1
CDC Frontier Meridian Seed 12.7 55.4 35 2088 2
* DAP, Days after planting
* 1 = late maturing, 10 = early maturing
* Yield at 60 lbs/bu and 13% moisture