Developing Best Management Practices for pulse and oilseed crops in the Northeast

Final report for LNE17-358

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2017: $105,527.00
Projected End Date: 05/31/2020
Grant Recipient: Maine Potato Board
Region: Northeast
State: Maine
Project Leader:
Jake Dyer
Maine Potato Board
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Project Information

Summary:

Potato growers in the Northeast are challenged to develop diverse, long-term crop rotations.  Short growing seasons, lack of regional markets, and the increasing scarcity of farm labor add to the difficulty of designing financially and environmentally sustainable cropping systems.  Research results conducted from 2013 through 2016 suggested that a variety of pulse and oilseed crops could perform well and produce satisfactory yields in Maine’s climate and add benefits to potato cropping systems by way of reducing inputs, breaking pest cycles, reduce soil erosion and compaction, and add value by filling the demand in up and coming markets. 

This project took place during the 2018 and 2019 growing seasons.  Host farms were located in Westfield, Presque Isle, and Mapleton, Maine.  The goal of this project was to evaluate how a variety of pulse and oilseed crops performed in Northern Maine growing conditions and to determine if their inclusion was beneficial to potato cropping systems.  Field peas, sunflowers, and canola had all been produced in Maine prior to this project.  Canola was the only crop included in this study that had been produced on a large scale.  Chickpeas, faba beans, lentils, and mustard are new crops to the typical Maine potato production systems and with the exception of mustard, were grown only on a research scale. 

The goal of 2018 was to evaluate how these crops performed and identify strengths and weaknesses.  Production practices such as row spacing, seeding rate, fertility, and varietal selection were evaluated.  The 2019 growing season used information gleaned from 2018 to take the crops with the most potential and evaluate them further on a field scale.  Certain crops such as chickpeas, lentils, and faba beans did not show enough promise in 2018 to scale up production.  Sunflower, canola, and field pea were deemed climate suitable and marketable and their production was increased in 2019.  Condiment mustard was added to the project in 2019 after conversations with a local food processor suggested that a local market existed.  Being a relative of canola and requiring similar growing practices, season length, and production equipment, it was decided to include the crop to the 2019 plan on both a research and field scale.

All crops that were grown on a field scale; sunflowers, canola, field peas, and mustard performed exceptionally well in the field and were marketed successfully; their production is planned to continue into the 2020 growing season.  Yields of these crops remained satisfactory and in most cases improved.  Canola yields improved by approximately 200-400 pounds per acre.  This was due to changes to the fertilizer blend to include sulfur at a rate of 8.8 pounds per acre, using an improved hybrid, and an increase in plant density by increasing the seeding rate from 5 to 7 pounds per acre.  The seeding rate increase resulted in 8.3 plants per square foot compared to 3.4 plants per square foot in 2018.  The increased plant density reduced branching and allowed the crop to ripen evenly resulting in a timely harvest with reduced shatter loss. 

2019 Field pea yields increased to 3636 pounds per acre.  Results from 2018 indicated that the addition of fertilizer, seed treatments, or foliar fungicides did not increase yield.  In 2019, fertilizer was not used nor was seed treatment or foliar fungicides resulting in an average savings of $60.52 per acre depending on products used. 

2019 Sunflower yields were reduced slightly from the 2018 season by an average of 240 pounds per acre.  This slight decline in yield was likely caused by several factors.  Seeding methods used by the host farm changed from using a grain drill in 2018 to using a corn planter with sunflower plates in 2019.  While this change in seeding methods improved consistency of plant population and head diameter, calibrating the in furrow fertilizer rate was difficult and an additional topdress application was required.  No-till practices were also evaluated which required changes to herbicide and fertilizer applications.  Insect damage by the Banded Sunflower Moth, Cochylis hospes also led to yield decline due to severe damage to parts of the fields.

Mustard yield was 1088 pounds per acre.  These yields are similar to those commonly realized in main production areas.  There are many simple improvements that can be made to increase mustard yields in Maine.  Increasing the seeding rate and decreasing seedling mortality by adjusting seeding depth to increase plant populations will contribute to higher yields and an increase in quality by allowing the crop to mature evenly and leading to a more timely harvest. 

Overall this project was a success.  Much was learned on alternative crop production by both the participating growers and myself.  Many of the crops that were grown as part of this project will continue to be produced in Maine for years to come.  Adoption of producing these crops on a large scale and by a large number of growers has been slow.  Potato production is extremely management intensive and requires specialized equipment and infrastructure.  Many producers operate with minimal labor resources and a select set of equipment making the adoption of additional crops less appetizing.  Access to stable markets and markets able to take substantial volumes remain difficult challenges to overcome for large producers and while the adoption of a wide array of alternative crops over a large number of acres may not be feasible for all, producers possessing drying, cleaning, and packaging capabilities and who are interested in filling the needs of smaller diversified markets will find value in the results of this project. 

Performance Target:

20 Northeast potato growers will integrate pulse or oilseed crops into their rotations for the first time on a total of 600 acres, leading to an average increase of $450 in gross revenue per acre. Depending on crop selection and market conditions net revenue per acre could increase by $200.

Introduction:

A lack of best management practices for pulse and oilseed crop production specific to the Northeast discourages growers from including them into their crop rotations and taking advantage of the many agronomic and marketing benefits these crops have to offer.  The most common crop rotation practiced in Maine consists of potatoes and small grains.  Depressed and limited markets for small grains, primarily oats and barley, are putting increased pressure on the potato crop to generate the majority of farm revenue therefore decreasing the length of time between potato crops in the rotation.  The inclusion of  pulse and oilseed crops could aid in lengthening crop rotations, reduce crop inputs, break insect and disease cycles, and increase overall farm revenue both directly, due to their higher monetary value than small grains, and indirectly, by way of increased potato yields and quality by decreasing their frequency in the rotation.

In addition to challenges with crop production, livestock producers in the Northeast are largely reliant on importing concentrated protein and energy sources, primarily soybean meal and corn, from other areas of the country.  If improvements in crop production can be made, alternative sources of protein and energy (pulse and oilseed meal), could offset this reliance on imports and strengthen a more complete agricultural system.       

Research projects conducted in Maine from 2013 through 2016 focusing on field peas, lentils, chickpeas, flax, and sunflowers has been structured using management practices (seeding dates, seeding rates, row spacing, and fertilization strategies) developed in the Northern Plains and the prairie provinces of Canada.  While some of these crops and management practices are applicable and work well in the Northeast, some do not.  Yields of field peas, flax, and sunflowers have been equal to or exceeded yields common in Western areas of the continent.  Chickpeas and lentils show potential but spatial management practices must be altered to compensate for the higher moisture and humidity levels in the Northeast. This project used information, experience, and field observations derived from these past experiments in an attempt to fine tune best management practices for producing pulse and oilseed crops in the Northeast.

 

Research

Hypothesis:

Pulse and oilseed crops can be successfully integrated into potato and small grain crop rotations in Maine and the Northeast using spatial and fertility management to optimize yields and reduce standability and disease challenges; resulting in increased revenue and reduced environmental impacts.

 

Materials and methods:

2018 Field Season

2018 Replicated Plot Trials

Replicated plot trials evaluating field peas, lentils, chickpeas, and faba beans were planted on a private farm in Westfield, Maine.  These trials used a randomized complete block design with three replicates.  Plots measured 6 feet wide by 13 feet long.  Plots were planted on May 16, 2018 using a Hege cone seeder with 7 inch row spacing.

Field Pea

CDC Saffron and AAC Lacombe yellow cotyledon peas were seeded at 312 and 340 pounds per acre respectively at a depth of 1.5 inches to achieve a target population of 392,040 plants per acre (9 plants per square foot).    

The field pea experiment compared varieties, fertility, and seed treatment.

  1. Saffron Pea – untreated seed – no fertilizer – inoculated
  2. Saffron Pea – untreated seed – K-Mag fertilizer – inoculated
  3. Saffron Pea – untreated seed – Pea Blend fertilizer – inoculated
  4. Saffron Pea – treated seed – no fertilizer – inoculated
  5. Lacombe Pea – treated seed – K-Mag fertilizer – inoculated
  6. Lacombe Pea – treated seed – Pea Blend Fertilizer – inoculated
  7. Lacombe Pea – treated seed – no fertilizer – inoculated

All treatments were inoculated with N-Charge® high adhesion peat based inoculant containing Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viceae at a rate of 10 ounces per hundredweight of seed.  All treatments received a pre-emergence herbicide application of 1.4 pints per acre of Dual II Magnum® (s-metolachlor) and 6 ounces per acre of Spartan Charge® (sulfentrazone and carfentrazone) on May 18.  The treatments with K-Mag as a fertilizer received 100 pounds per acre of 0-0-21-10.8Mg-22S and the treatments with Pea Blend as a fertilizer received 150 pounds per acre of 7.3-18.6-16.8-5.5Mg-11S.  The fertilizer was topdressed after planting on May 18. 

Plots were desiccated on August 10 using 1.5 pints per acre of Gramoxone® (paraquat).  Plots were harvested on August 17 using a Wintersteiger® Nursery Master plot combine.

 

Red Lentil

CDC Maxim small red lentils were planted at 7 and 14 inch row spacings at 57.3 pounds per acre to achieve a target population of 588,000 plants per acre (13.5 plants per square foot). 

All treatments were inoculated with N-Charge® high adhesion peat based inoculant containing Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viceae at a rate of 10 ounces per hundredweight of seed.  No additional fertilizer was applied.  All treatments received a pre-emergence herbicide application of 1.4 pints per acre of Dual II Magnum® (s-metolachlor) and a post emergence application of Beyond® (imazamox) at a rate of 6 ounces per acre on June 20.  Priaxor® (fluxapyroxad and pyraclostrobin) fungicide was applied at a rate of 8 ounces per acre on July 19.

Plots were desiccated on August 10 using 1.5 pints per acre of Gramoxone® (paraquat).  Plots were harvested on August 17 using a Wintersteiger® Nursery Master plot combine.

Chickpea

Frontier chickpeas were planted at 172 pounds per acre to achieve a target population of 174,500 plants per acre (4 plants per square foot).  Row spacing was 14 inches.  Plots received a pre-emergence herbicide application of 1.4 pints per acre of Dual II Magnum® (s-metolachlor) and 6 ounces per acre of Spartan Charge® (sulfentrazone and carfentrazone) on May 18.  Priaxor® (fluxapyroxad and pyraclostrobin) fungicide was applied at a rate of 8 ounces per acre on July 19. 

Plots were desiccated on August 31 using 1.5 pints per acre of Gramoxone® (paraquat).  Plots were harvested by hand on September 07 and were processed using an Almaco stationary thresher.

Faba Beans

Snodrop, a zero tannin type faba bean was seeded at 169, 253, and 338 pounds per acre to achieve target populations of 4, 6, and 8 plants per acre respectively.  Row spacing was 7 inches.  Plots received no in season herbicides, fertilizers, or fungicides.

Plots were desiccated on August 31 using 1.5 pints per acre of Gramoxone® (paraquat).  Plots were harvested by hand on September 07 and were processed using an Almaco stationary thresher.

Canola

Two replicated plot trials evaluating canola varieties, fertility, and seeding rate were planted on the University of Maine’s Aroostook Research Farm on May 29, 2018.  These trials used a randomized complete block design with each treatment replicated three times.  Plots measured 6 feet wide by 13 feet long.  Plots were planted using a Hege cone seeder with 7 inch row spacing. 

The variety trial compared 5 varieties at 3 seeding rates for a total of 15 treatments. 

  1. DeKalb 30-42 – 5, 8, 11 pounds per acre
  2. DynaGro 533G – 5, 8, 11 pounds per acre
  3. DynaGro 544 – 5, 8, 11 pounds per acre
  4. Croplan HyClass 955 – 5, 8, 11 pounds per acre
  5. Croplan HyClass 970 – 5, 8, 11 pounds per acre

Each treatment received 80N-30P-49K-11Mg-34S on June 01.

The best management practices trial compared 2 varieties, 2 seeding rates, and 2 fertility rates for a total of 8 treatments.

  1. DeKalb 30-42 – 5 pounds per acre – 77.7N – 0 – 54.1K
  2. Croplan HyClass 955 – 5 pounds per acre – 77.7N – 0 – 54.1K
  3. DeKalb 30-42 – 8.6 pounds per acre – 77.7N – 0 – 54.1K
  4. DeKalb 30-42 – 5 pounds per acre – 80N – 30 P – 49K – 34S – 10.8Mg
  5. Croplan HyClass 955 – 8.6 pounds per acre – 80N – 30 P – 49K – 34S – 10.8Mg
  6. DeKalb 30-42 – 8.6 pounds per acre – 80N – 30 P – 49K – 34S – 10.8Mg
  7. Croplan HyClass 955 – 5 pounds per acre – 80N – 30 P – 49K – 34S – 10.8Mg
  8. Croplan HyClass 955 – 8.6 pounds per acre – 77.7N – 0 – 54.1K

Credit Xtra (glyphosate) was applied post emergence on June 22 at the rate of 1 pint per acre. 

Plots were desiccated on August 27 using 1.5 pints per acre of Reglone® (diquat).  Plots were harvested on September 16 using a Wintersteiger® Nursery Master plot combine. 

Field Demonstration Trials

2018 Field Season

Field Pea

Field pea demonstration trials were planted in Chapman, Maine on May 19, 2018.  In total, 50 acres of AAC Lacombe yellow cotyledon peas were planted.  10 acres were planted using foundation seed and 40 acres were planted using certified seed.  This demonstration was planted as a strip trial and was not replicated.  Timing of field rolling, fertility inputs, seed treatment, and foliar fungicides were evaluated.

Prior to planting, a fertilizer blend of 7.3N-18.6P-16.8K-5.5Mg-11S was applied to the entire field and incorporated at a rate of 150 pounds per acre.  The entire demonstration received a pre emergence application of 1.33 pints of Dual II Magnum® (s-metolachlor) and 6 ounces of Spartan 4F® (sulfentrazone) per acre on May 21.  The foliar fungicides Stratego YLD® (prothioconazole and trifloxystrobin) at 4.8 ounces per acre, Aproach® (picoxystrobin) at 12 ounces per acre, and Endura® (boscalid) at 11 ounces per acre were also evaluated as part of this demonstration.   The products were applied on July 9 just prior to full bloom.  Target diseases were Ascochyta and Sclerotinia sclerotiorum.  The field was desiccated on August 11 using 1.5 pints per acre of Gramoxone® (paraquat).  Peas were harvested on September 5 and 6 using a John Deere 9670 STS rotary combine with 35 foot flex header.  In all the demonstration consisted of 6 treatments:

  1. Registered seed – Rolled prior to planting – Vitaflow® seed treatment
  2. Certified Seed – Rolled after planting – Vitaflow® seed treatment
  3. Certified Seed – Rolled after planting – 0-0-21-10.8Mg-22S as KMag – Vitaflow® seed treatment
  4. Certified Seed – Rolled after planting – Untreated seed
  5. Certified Seed – Rolled after planting – 0-0-21-10.8Mg-22S as KMag – Untreated seed
  6. Certified Seed – Rolled prior to planting – 0-0-21-10.8Mg-22S as KMag – Treated seed

 

Canola

Canola demonstration trials were planted in Mapleton, Maine on May 23, 2018.  The variety planted was DeKalb 30-42, a Roundup Ready cultivar with Helix Xtra® (difenconazole, fludioxonil, mefenoxam, and thiamethoxam) seed treatment.  This demonstration was planted as a strip trial and was not replicated.  Increasing the seeding rate from 5 to 6 pounds per acre and additional fertility inputs were evaluated.

 

One half of the field was planted at a seeding rate of 5 pounds per acre with 338 pounds per acre of 23N-0P-16K fertilizer applied at planting.  The other half of the field was planted at a seeding rate of 6 pounds per acre with the same fertility inputs.  KMag (0N-0P-21K-10.8Mg-22S) was applied in 50 foot wide strips at 100 and 200 pounds per acre on June 27 using a Vicon® spreader.  Glyphosate was applied post emergence on June 15 when canola was at 3 leaf stage.  Quash® (metconazole) was applied at 4 ounces per acre on July 10.  Canola was desiccated on August 21 using Reglone® (diquat) at 1.5 pints per acre.  Canola was harvested on September 02.

 

Sunflowers

Sunflower demonstration plots were planted in Mapleton and Westfield, Maine on May 29 and June 6 respectively.  The variety grown on both sites was Croplan 549CL, a Clearfield® variety with 95 day relative maturity. 

 

The Mapleton site was planted using a grain drill with 18 inch row spacing.  The target plant population was 28,000 plants per acre.  Fertilizer (21N-0P-0K-1.2Mg) was applied at planting to achieve 50, 75, and 100 pounds of nitrogen per acre in strips.  Pre emergence herbicide was not used.  Beyond® (imazamox) at 6 ounces per acre was applied on August 01.  Quash® (metconazole) was applied at 4 ounces per acre on August 16.  Sunflowers were harvested on October 26.

 

The Westfield site was planted using a Monosem® precision vacuum planter on June 5 and 6.  The target population was 30,000 plants per acre.  Fertilizer was applied at planting at a rate of 65 pounds per acre of nitrogen.  Dual II Magnum® (s-metolachlor) and Spartan 4F® (sulfentrazone) were applied pre emergence on June 8 at rates of 10.6 ounces per acre and 6 ounces per acre respectively.  No fungicides were used and sunflowers were harvested on November 02.   

2019 Field Season

The 2019 field season trials were held on two private farms in Mapleton, Maine.  Replicated plots of field peas, chickpeas, canola, and condiment mustard were planted as were field trials of field peas, condiment mustard, canola, and sunflowers.  Fava beans and lentils were included in the 2018 trials but were omitted from the 2019 trials due to unsatisfactory yield and quality and difficulty in harvesting.  Condiment mustard was included in place of faba beans and red lentils. 

2019 Replicated Plot Trials

Replicated plots of green and yellow field peas and chickpeas were planted on May 29.  Canola and mustard plots were planted on June 06.  These trials used a randomized complete block design with 4 replications.  Plots measured 6 feet wide by 13 feet long.  Plots were planted using a Hege cone seeder with 7 inch row spacing.  Red lentil and faba bean were dropped from the experiment after discouraging results from the 2018 replicated plots. Quality lentils are very challenging to produce in Maine’s climate and on Maine soil.  The lentils grow to a height of 13 inches, are very indeterminate in maturity, compete poorly with weeds, and have a tendency to lodge creating a environment conducive to disease and making harvesting with field scale equipment difficult.  Faba beans are a long season crop and to reach maximum yield potential must be planted early.  Spring conditions in Maine are not only cold, but wet.  While the faba beans can tolerate being planted into cool soils, the fields are often too wet for planting equipment to travel them.  In addition to crop production challenges, markets for these crops in Maine are virtually non-existent further discouraging growers to adopt their production.

Field Pea

The field pea experiment consisted of 5 treatments, each representing a variety of yellow or green field pea.

AAC Carver, AC Earlystar, and CDC Saffron yellow cotyledon peas were seeded at 237, 192, and 224 pounds per acre respectively to achieve a target population of 9 plants per square foot or 392,040 plants per acre.  AAC Comfort and CDC Greenwater green cotyledon peas were seeded at 322 and 288 pounds per acre to achieve the aforementioned target plant population.  Seed was drilled to a depth of 1.5 inches and was inoculated with N-Charge® high adhesion peat based inoculant containg Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viceae at a rate of 10 ounces per hundredweight of seed.  Fungicide seed treatment nor fertilizer was used as results from the 2018 replicated plots did not show any statistical yield increase.  All plots received a pre-emergence herbicide application of 1.67 pints per acre of Dual II Magnum® (s-metolachlor) and 6 ounces per acre of Spartan Charge® (sulfentrazone and carfentrazone) on May 30. 

Plant counts were taken on June 26 and lodging was visually estimated on September 02 just prior to harvest.  Plots were harvested on September 03 using a Wintersteiger® Nursery Master plot combine. 

Chickpea

The chickpea experiment consisted of 3 treatments, each representing a variety of kabuli type chickpea.

CDC Leader, CDC Palmer, and CDC Frontier kabuli type chickpeas were seeded at 151, 197, and 172 pounds per acre respectively to achieve a target population of 4 plants per square foot or 172,240 plants per acre.  Seed was drilled to a depth of 1.5 inches.  Seed inoculant was not used as past research results from 2016 and 2018 showed that natural vine senescence was delayed significantly when an inoculant was used.  Foliar diseases such as grey mold were also more prevalent the longer the vines remained green.  Nitrogen fertilizer was used in the form of ammonium sulfate and was broadcast at a rate of 200 pounds per acre.  All plots received a pre-emergence herbicide application of 1.67 pints per acre of Dual II Magnum® (s-metolachlor) and 6 ounces per acre of Spartan Charge® (sulfentrazone and carfentrazone) on May 30.

Canola and Mustard

The canola experiment consisted of 12 treatments consisting of four varieties seeded at three different rates to determine the optimum plant population.  The mustard experiment consisted of 4 treatments each representing a variety seeded at a constant rate to determine yield potential for condiment mustards.

Canola varieties Dyna-Gro 533G, Dyna-Gro 540G, Croplan HyClass 970, and Croplan HyClass 955 were seeded at rates ranging from 6.4 to 13.6 pounds per acre to achieve target plant populations of 7, 9, and 11 plants per square foot (304,920, 392,040, and 479,160 plants per acre respectively).   In addition, four varieties of mustard were also planted.  The target plant population was 9 plants per square foot (392,040 plants per acre).  Adagio and Andante yellow mustards were seeded at 9.5 and 10.8 pounds per acre, Centennial brown mustard was seeded at 5.3 pounds per acre, and Vulcan oriental mustard was seeded at 5.6 pounds per acre.  Seed was drilled to a depth of ½ inches and contained a fungicide and insecticide treatment.  A pre-plant herbicide application of Triflurex HFP (trifluralin) was made on June 05 and incorporated into the soil twice using a field cultivator.  Fertilizer was applied as a topdress on June 13 using a granular 19-0-19-1.1Mg-4S blend at a rate of 400 pounds per acre.  Proline 480 SC® (prothioconazole) fungicide was applied on July 18 at a rate of 5.7 ounces per acre. 

Plant counts were taken on July 01.  Plots were desiccated on September 05 using 2 ounces per acre of Sharpen® (saflufenacil) herbicide.  Plots were harvested on September 09.

Field Demonstration Trials

Field demonstration trials of yellow cotyledon field peas, sunflowers (both tilled and no-tilled), canola, and condiment mustard were planted in Mapleton, Maine,

Field Pea

AAC Lacombe yellow cotyledon field peas were planted on 11 acres on June 07.  The previous crop was potato.  The quality of the planted seed was excellent with germination of 99%.  At 1544 seeds per pound, the peas were seeded at 285 pounds per acre to achieve a target population of 9 plants per square foot.  Seed was inoculated with 10 ounces per hundredweight of a peat based inoculant.  Pre-emergence herbicides consisted of Dual II Magnum® (s-metolachlor) at 1.67 pints per acre and Spartan 4F® (sulfentrazone) at 6 ounces per acre.  No seed treatment or fertilizer was used.  Peas were desiccated on September 10 using 2 ounces per acre of Sharpen® (saflufenacil).   Peas were harvested on October 14.

Canola

Dyna-Gro 540G canola was planted on several fields on May 13.  The previous crop was potato.  The seed germination was 90% and there were 78,203 seeds per pound.  The target plant population was 11 plants per square foot.  Plant counts taken on June 25 determined the final plant population to be 8.03 plants per square foot resulting in a 27% reduction from the target plant population.  Seed was treated with fungicide and insecticide.  Granular fertilizer was applied at seeding.  The blend had an analysis of 22-0-13-1.2Mg-1.9Ca-8.8S and was applied at a rate of 350 pounds per acre.  Glyphosate was applied prior to bolting on June 15 at a rate of 10 ounces per acre and tank mixed with Warrior® (lambda-cyhalothrin) insecticide at a rate of 1.5 ounces per acre.  Quash® (metconazole) was applied at near full bloom at a rate of 4 ounces per acre on July 13.  Reglone® (diquat) was used as a desiccant on August 19 at a rate of 1.5 pints per acre.  Canola was harvested on August 28.

Yellow Mustard

Adagio yellow mustard was planted on 2 fields totaling 17 acres on June 06.  The previous crop was potato.  Seed germination was 96% and there were 85,583 seeds per pound.  Due to some of the seed getting lost during shipping, the original target seeding rate of 8.8 pounds per acre had to be reduced to cover the planned acreage.  The adjusted seeding rate was 6.1 pounds per acre which would have yielded a plant stand of 5.7 plants per square foot or 248,292 plants per acre.  Plant counts were taken on July 01 and were determined to be 4.8 plants per square foot or 209,088 plants per acre; 84% of the adjusted target.  This stand reduction was determined to be caused by incorrectly adjusting the down pressure of the grain drill resulting in the seed being drilled too deep.  A seed treatment was not used.  Granular fertilizer was applied at seeding.  The blend had an analysis of 19-0-19-1.1Mg-4S and was applied at a rate of 400 pounds per acre.  Triflurex HFP® (trifluralin) was applied on June 05 at a rate of 1.5 pints per acre and incorporated twice using a field cultivator.  Proline 480 SC® (prothioconazole) was applied at a rate of 5.7 ounces per acre on July 18.  Sharpen® (saflufenacil) was applied at a rate of 2.0 ounces per acre as a desiccant on September 05.  Mustard was harvested on October 06.

Sunflower

Croplan 7111 CL HO and Croplan 549 CL HO sunflowers were planted on several fields in the Mapleton area beginning on June 07.  Conventional till and no-till practices were both used. 
Seed germination was 90% for all varieties and all seed was treated with a fungicide and insecticide seed treatment.  Seed was planted using a White 6100 row crop air plate planter with 36 inch row spacing.  The target population was 30,000 plants per acre.  Plant counts were taken and actual plant populations were determined to be 33,652 for the tilled sunflowers and 31,575 for the no-tilled.  Granular fertilizer was applied at planting.  The blend had an analysis of 19-0-19-1.1Mg-4S and was applied at a rate of 315 pounds per acre.  An additional application of 100 pounds per acre of the same blend of fertilizer was applied as a topdress.  The tilled sunflowers received a pre emergence herbicide application of 1.67 pints per acre of Dual II Magnum® (s-metolachlor) and 6 ounces per acre of Spartan 4F® (sulfentrazone) on July 09.  The no-tilled sunflowers received a pre plant application of glyphosate at a rate of 1.5 quarts per acre and a post emergence application of Beyond® (imazamox) at 6 ounces per acre.  Foliar fungicides were not used and there was a very low incidence of white mold (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib.) de Bary during the 2019 growing season in Mapleton.  Sunflowers were harvested beginning on November 06.

The banded sunflower moth (Cochylis hospes, Walsingham) was identified in Maine during the 2019 growing season.  The larvae of this pest was noticed on September 09 in sunflower heads.  The damage appeared quite severe with the highest incidence located on field edges.  Damage decreased toward the center of the fields.  University of Maine Cooperative Extension personnel scouted fields and identified the pest. 

 

Research results and discussion:

Replicated research plots were planted using a Hege cone seeder with 7 inch row spacing.  Plots were harvested using a Wintersteiger Nursery Master plot combine.  Samples were cleaned using a Clipper Office Tester grain cleaner and corrected to safe storage moisture.  Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted on the yield data and treatment means were compared by Tukey’s HSD (p=0.05).  Lodging and disease incidence were estimated visually.

Field demonstration trials were planted and harvested using grower owned equipment.  Planting equipment was calibrated and yields were determined using yield monitors in the combine and truck scales.

The results of this project show that field peas, sunflowers, canola, and condiment mustard are all viable choices for potato crop rotations in Maine. Depending on market demand, target market, and currency exchange rates, all have the potential to increase returns to the grower.  In addition to the financial benefits, agronomically, they required low fertility and chemical inputs, exhibited high yields, and were adaptable to potato/grain rotations.  Furthermore, as potato crop rotations expand and lengthen, opportunities to reduce tillage present themselves.  Field peas, sunflowers, canola, mustard, and spring and fall cereals are all suitable choices to no-till/reduced tillage production practices and this experiment highlighted these possibilities in the cases of fall rye and sunflowers.

This project also highlighted challenges associated with producing large volumes of alternative crops in geographic areas where access to markets of scale is not readily available.  In Maine, Canada is the primary market for bulk canola and field peas and is highly dependent on the exchange rate to be economically viable.  These markets can take substantial volume but often requiring costly long distance transportation which further decreases profitability.  The market for mustard is limited to a handful of small mills throughout New England and could easily be saturated.  The primary market for sunflowers is birdseed, which must be cleaned and packaged in small bags and marketed to individual businesses.  In order to maximize revenue, the grower must be willing to market the crop to a broad range of buyers and have the desire and ability to dry, store, clean, and package products that are acceptable to the buyer.  It is hypothesized that this is a reason for the lack of grower interest in producing these crops.   However, for growers who are willing and able, field peas, canola, mustard, and sunflowers are excellent choices for rotation crops in Maine potato production systems.

Research conclusions:

AF BMP YIELDS

AF VT YIELDS

2018 Pulse Data – Yield

Pulse-Plot-Map

Canola-Variety-Trial-Plot-Map

Canola-BMP-Plot-Map

2019 Pulse Plot Map

2019 Canola and Mustard Plot Map

2018 Replicated Plot Trials

Samples were processed using a Clipper Office Tester® grain cleaner to remove dockage.  Moisture measurements were taken using a DickeyJohn MiniGac® portable moisture tester.  The final weights of harvested samples were corrected to storage moisture content. 

Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted on the yield data and treatment means were compared by Tukey’s HSD (p=0.05). 

Overall, the 2018 growing season in Northern Maine was conducive to producing excellent quality pulse (especially peas) and oilseed crops.  Soil conditions in May allowed timely planting and excellent emergence of all crops included in these trials.  No seedling diseases were noted and emergence was rapid.  Foliar diseases were not noted throughout the season likely due to a relatively dry growing season.  Precipitation and temperature were measured using a SpecConnect portable weather station located in Chapman, Maine.  Cumulative rainfall between May 24 and September 10 was 17.55 inches (2.08 above 30 year average).  Average 24 hour temperatures for the same time period were higher than the 30 year average (except for June).

 

Presque Isle, ME  04769

May

June

July

August

Sept

Average Temperature (°F)

58.7

59.2

70

69

60.2

Departure from Normal

2.4

-1.5

4.4

5.4

5.2

Rainfall (IN)

4.04

5.4

3.38

4.65

0.08

Departure from Normal

0.71

0.58

-0.7

0.89

-0.03

Lodging of pulse and oilseed crops can make harvest challenging.  There was no lodging in field peas, chickpeas, or canola.  Approximately 40 percent of the lentils lodged in the 14 inch row spacing but not in the 7 inch spacing.  Faba beans lodged at approximately 30 percent in the 6 and 8 plants per square foot treatments.  Yield data and treatment descriptions are below:

 Field Peas

  1. Saffron Pea – untreated seed – no fertilizer – inoculated
  2. Saffron Pea – untreated seed – K-Mag fertilizer – inoculated
  3. Saffron Pea – untreated seed – Pea Blend fertilizer – inoculated
  4. Saffron Pea – treated seed – no fertilizer – inoculated
  5. Lacombe Pea – treated seed – K-Mag fertilizer – inoculated
  6. Lacombe Pea – treated seed – Pea Blend Fertilizer – inoculated
  7. Lacombe Pea – treated seed – no fertilizer – inoculated

 

Treatment

AVE. Yield @ 16%

Saffron Pea – Untreated Seed – No Fertilizer – Inoculated

3602

Saffron Pea – Untreated Seed – Kmag Fertilizer – Inoculated

3460

Saffron Pea – Untreated Seed – Pea Fertilizer – Inoculated

3444

Saffron Pea – Treated Seed – No Fertilizer – Inoculated

3443

Lacombe Pea – Treated Seed – Kmag Fertilizer – Inoculated

3978

Lacombe Pea – Treated Seed – Pea Fertilizer – Inoculated

3014

Lacombe Pea – Treated Seed – No Fertilizer – Inoculated

3612

There was no significant difference in yields between any of the treatments.

Red Lentil

Treatment

AVE. Yield @ 16%

Lentil 7 Inch

1666

Lentil 14 Inch

1380

There was no significant difference in yield between any of the treatments.

Chickpea

Treatment

AVE. Yield @ 16%

Chickpea 14 Inch

1930

 

Faba Bean

Treatment

AVE. Yield @ 16%

Faba Bean 4 Pl/FT2

1552

Faba Bean 6 Pl/FT2

1794

Faba Bean 8 pl/FT2

1684

There was no significant difference in yield between any of the treatments.

 

Canola Variety Trial

Yield Data (Average of 3 Replications)

TRMT

Yield (Lb/A) @ 8% MC

Rank

1

1469

7

2

1459

9

3

1780

3

4

1378

12

5

1304

14

6

1573

6

7

1355

13

8

1598

5

9

1429

11

10

893

15

11

1653

4

12

1434

10

13

1867

2

14

1466

8

15

2036

1

There was no significant difference in yield between any of the treatments.

Canola BMP Trial

Yield Data (Average of 3 Replications)
TRMT Yield (Lb/A) @ 8% MC Rank
1 1398 8
2 1623 3
3 1411 7
4 1470 6
5 1815 1
6 1692 2
7 1617 4
8 1598 5

There was no significant difference in yield between any of the treatments.

2019 Replicated Plot Trials

The weather in Mapleton, Maine in 2019 was cool and wet throughout the spring.  Wet conditions pushed planting back to between May 29 and June 07.  The remainder of the season was dry with occasional showers throughout August and September.  The weather station used for the 2018 growing season was not available for 2019. 

Field Pea

Field pea replicated plot harvest went well even though some of the varieties had severe lodging (Saffron and Comfort).  Yields of all treatments were satisfactory.  Foliar diseases were not an issue in 2019.  Timely harvest is always important to producing a quality pea crop.  Bleaching of yellow varieties is not problematic due to the color of the seed.  Bleaching of green varieties increases as harvest is delayed.  Bleaching was noted in both green varieties (Greenwater and Comfort), but was not at an unacceptable level.

2019 Field Pea Data

There was no significant difference in yield between any of the varieties with the exception that Comfort yielded significantly higher than Saffron.

Chickpea

The replicated plots of chickpeas were not harvested as plant stands were very poor and overall plant health was compromised by a high level of infection from Ascochyta rabiei, a fungal infection specific to chickpea.  As chickpeas are not grown in Maine, the fungus likely was present in the seed.  This is a major pathogen of concern wherever chickpeas are produced and Maine was no exception in 2019.  The shape and size of chickpea seed makes stand establishment a challenge.  The seed is fragile and easily damaged by planting equipment resulting in unsatisfactorily low plant populations.  When planted at 6 or 7 inch row spacing, excessive foliage makes disease prevention difficult and a regimented fungicide regime in Maine’s humid climate makes chickpea production uneconomical.  When planted in wider 14 inch rows, the chickpeas are unable to compete with weed pressure on a consistent basis.  Inoculation of seed produces vigorous vine growth which leads to increased difficulty in disease control late in the season.  The replacement of inoculant with nitrogen fertilizer produced a short, sparse plant stand that was unacceptable.

Canola

The canola replicated trials consisted of 12 treatments.  Each treatment was a specific variety at a target plant population (7, 9, and 11 plants per square foot).  Each treatment was replicated 4 times.  All treatments received the same herbicide, fertilizer, fungicide, and desiccant.  All varieties were also grown in 2018 with the exception of DeKalb DK 30-42 which was no longer available. 

Canola harvest went well with no lodging noted in any of the 12 treatments.  Seeding rates were developed using a 50% loss factor.  This loss factor was derived from observations from 2018.  The stand establishment in 2019 was much higher with treatments averaging 204% of target plant populations.  The high populations resulted in dense stands with no branching and uniform seed maturity.  This reduction in stand loss was also noted in the field demonstration trials.  The soil conditions in 2019 were optimal for canola emergence.  Adequate moisture, proper equipment set-up, and seed to soil contact all contributed to the above average plant populations.  Canola yield in the replicated plots were less than yields from field demonstration sites.

2019 Canola Data

There was no significant difference in yield between any of the treatments.

Mustard

Condiment mustard was harvested on September 09 with no lodging in any of the treatments.  There were 4 treatments, each representing a specific variety of either yellow, brown, or oriental mustard.  Target plant populations were developed using 50% loss.  The target plant populations for all treatments was 9 plants per square foot.  Plant counts averaged 170% of target plant populations.  As with the canola replicated plots, adequate moisture, seed to soil contact, and proper equipment set up resulted in above average plant stands with little branching and uniform seed maturity.  The yields of mustard were higher in the brown and oriental varieties with yellows averaging 1020 pounds per acre, comparable to the 1088 pounds per acre from the field demonstrations. 

2019 Condiment Mustard Data

There was no significant difference in yield between any of the varieties. 

Field Demonstration Trials

2018 Field Season

Field pea harvest went well with no lodging issues.  No noticeable difference between foliar fungicides.  Peas began to re-flower despite chemical desiccation.  Harvest was delayed until September 6.  Moisture content during harvest was elevated due to the amount of green material going through the combine.  Peas were cleaned immediately post-harvest to remove dockage.  Yields were measured by using the yield monitor on the combine.  Overall yields averaged 3007 pounds per acre with bushel weights averaging 68 pounds. 

 

Field Pea Demonstration Trial Yields

 

Treatment

 

Yield (Lb/A)

Reg. Seed – Rolled Prior – Seed Treated

2800

Cert. Seed – Rolled After – Seed Treated

2880

Cert. Seed-Rolled after-Kmag-Seed Treated

3302

Cert. Seed-Rolled after-Untreated Seed

2808

Cert. Seed-Rolled after-Kmag-Untreated Seed

3234

Cert. Seed-Rolled Prior-Kmag-Seed Treated

3020

Canola

Canola was direct cut with no lodging issues.  Foliar disease was not problematic.  Yield was measured using yield monitor in combine, but results were sporadic due to sprayer tracks and poor strip layout design.  Yields averaged 2000 pounds per acre on all 5 pound per acre seeding rate treatments regardless of the amount of KMag that was applied.  The grower realized a slight increase in yield, 2200 pounds per acre with the 6 pound per acre seeding rate and the 200 pound per acre rate of KMag.

Sunflower

Sunflower harvest went well despite being late in the season.  Steady rains, snow, and cold throughout the month of October hastened harvest and contributed to losses in the field due to lodging.  White mold was noted more so at the Westfield site which was not treated with a foliar fungicide. 

Sunflower stands were much more uniform when a precision planter was used versus grain drill.  Pre-emergence herbicides provided superior results versus post-emergence herbicides alone. 

At the Mapleton site, yield increased with nitrogen rate with the highest yields being obtained with 100 pounds per acre of nitrogen.  The Westfield site yielded almost as well as the highest yield in Mapleton with only 65 pounds of nitrogen applied.  This is likely due to better stand establishment and higher plant population per acre. 

Mapleton

Yield

50 pounds Nitrogen

1820 pounds per acre

75 pounds Nitrogen

2100 pounds per acre

100 pounds Nitrogen

2660 pounds per acre

Westfield

 

65 pounds Nitrogen

2428 pounds per acre

2019 Research Results and Discussion

 2019 Field Demonstration Trials

Yields from the 2019 field season trials were respectable given the challenging growing season.  Cool, wet spring weather delayed planting of all crops.  The majority of the growing season was dry throughout much of Aroostook County followed by a relatively wet fall.  The 2019 field demonstration portions of this project were built on information gleaned from the 2018 field season.  The majority of the field demonstrations in 2019 were not comparing treatments; they were focused on what seeded to work best in 2018 and evaluated on a field scale.

Field Pea

Field pea harvest went well with minimal lodging issues, which was surprising considering the late harvest date of October 14.  Unlike 2018, the peas did not re-flower after they were desiccated.  Due to the late harvest, there was some sprouting to the peas.  Moisture content was 15% at harvest and peas were cleaned immediately to remove dockage.  Yield was measured using the yield monitor on the combine and certified truck scales.  Overall yield 3636 pounds per acre.  Data from replicated research plots and from 2018 field demonstration trials suggest inputs such as fertilizer and fungicides had minimal effects on total yield.  The results from the 2019 field demonstration concurred with these findings.  Weed control was excellent.

Canola

Canola was direct cut with no lodging issues.  Foliar disease was not problematic.  Yield was measured using the yield monitor in the combine.  Results from 2018 field demonstration trials showed an increase in yield associated with higher plant populations and the addition of sulfur to the fertilizer blend.  A modern hybrid, Dyna-Gro 540G was planted as the previous variety, DeKalb DK 30-42 is no longer available.  In addition to variety selection, the seeding rate was increased to 7 pounds per acre which resulted in an actual plant population of 349,787 plants per acre (a 27% reduction from target population) compared to the 2018 seeding rate of 5 to 6 pounds per acre which resulted in an average plant population of 149,833 plants per acre (a 65.7 % reduction from target population).  In order to satisfy canola’s sulfur requirement, the fertilizer blend was changed from 2018 to include sulfur.  The fertilization program in 2018 consisted of 338 pounds per acre of 23-0-16 (77.7 pounds nitrogen and 54 pounds potassium) compared to the 2019 fertilization program using 350 pounds per acre of a 22-0-13-1.2Mg-1.9Ca-8.8S (77 pounds nitrogen, 46 pounds potassium, 4.2 pounds magnesium, 6.6 pounds calcium, and 31 pounds sulfur).    The 2019 canola crop was more uniform, branched less, matured more evenly, and yielded 2400 pounds per acre at 8% moisture when it was harvested on August 28.  2018 yields ranged from 2000-2200 pounds per acre.  Weed control was excellent.

Yellow Mustard

Adagio yellow mustard was direct cut with no lodging issues.  The mustard compensated well considering the reduced plant stand.  Trifluralin provided excellent weed control however the low seeding rate caused the plants to branch extensively.  Branching resulted in uneven maturation of the seeds.  Seeds on the main stem matured quicker than the seeds on the branches making timing of harvest difficult.  On September 05, when 80% of the seeds had turned yellow, saflufenacil was applied as a desiccant.  Wet weather resulted in a delay in harvest until October 06.  The mustard was harvested at 14% moisture and was artificially dried using strew type aerators to storage moisture of 8%.  Mustard yields averaged 1088 pounds per acre of cleaned seed.

Sunflower

Croplan 7111 CL HO and 549 CL HO sunflowers were harvested beginning November 06.  In order to achieve consistent head for uniform dry down, improvements to in row plant spacing and higher planter accuracy were needed.  In past years, grain drills were used to plant sunflowers on 18 inch row spacing by plugging 2 out of every three seed tubes.  Due to the shape of the sunflower seeds and the fluted design of the grain drill, in row plant spacing was inconsistent leaving large in row gaps and creating difficulty in dry down due to the irregularity in head size.  In an effort to improve planter efficiency, in row plant spacing, and uniform head size, a White 6100 pressure type row crop planter was used.  Calibrating the planter was challenging and although some fields were over the target population and some were slightly under, the plant spacing was greatly improved as was head size.  The 549 CL HO variety flowed through the planter better and resulted in more accurate plant populations.

Both conventional till and no-till practices were used in 2019 with satisfactory results.  Yields from both types of tillage systems were similar and averaged 2000 pounds per acre for the 7111 CL HO variety and 2700 pounds per acre for the 549 CL HO variety.  Fields that were heavily infected by banded sunflower moth larvae were not harvested and were considered to be 100% loss.

The results of this project conclude that field peas can be successfully produced in the Northeast.  Yields are comparable to those reported from common production areas in North America.  Field peas can be successfully produced without fertility inputs, seed treatments, or foliar fungicides.  Green and yellow cotyledon varieties perform similarly.  Lodging can be an issue making variety selection and timely harvest critical to success.  Chickpea, lentil, and faba bean are not suitable pulse crop choices for the Northeast.  Disease susceptibility, lodging, and growing season length requirements proved to be difficult hurdles to overcome.  Chickpeas may have the potential to be successfully produced, however, due to susceptibility to foliar and seed borne disease and inconsistent weed control, their production will require intensive management and frequent fungicide applications, likely limiting their economic viability.

Canola, mustard, and sunflowers are all viable crop choices for Maine potato rotations.  Canola and mustard, with adequate plant populations and additional sulfur fertility, produce satisfactory yields and both are marketable.  Sunflowers, though requiring a longer growing season and late harvest, have the potential to yield over 2000 pounds per acre consistently.  Stand uniformity is important with regards to uniform head size and even harvest maturity.  Extensive damage from banded sunflower moth was noted in 2019 and scouting for this pest in future to determine if insecticide applications are warranted will be necessary.

Participation Summary
6 Farmers participating in research

Education

Educational approach:

Recruitment

600-800 potato and grain growers, livestock producers, and regional market outlets throughout Maine were sent emails as notification and advertisement for the project.  Industry groups in other New England states were also sent email advertisements to forward on to their members.  Those who responded to the initial email were sent a survey used to gather information regarding level of interest, current knowledge, learning needs assessment, and willingness to participate in the project.  The plan was that an estimated 115 survey respondents would be invited to a winter workshop where they would be presented with a more detailed description of the goals and anticipated outcomes of the project as well as information, observations, and results from pulse and oilseed research conducted in Maine from 2013-2016.  Following winter workshops would host experienced guest speakers from the pulse and oilseed production, marketing, and research industries.

 

Instructional methods

Beneficiaries were educated in Northeast pulse and oilseed production using a combination of email correspondence, field day learning, and research and farm scale field demonstrations.  Email was used to communicate project updates, conduct surveys, and keep growers abreast on national, continental, and global issues and opportunities in the pulse and oilseed industries.  A field day was held to educate participants, host guest speakers and experts from industry, and introduce growers to potential marketing outlets.  Plot and farm scale demonstrations and a field day provided growers with the hands on experience often necessary to completely understand overall production methods and challenges.

 

Curriculum topics

The educational program included the following topics:

  • Pulse and oilseed crop choices. How to distinguish which is right for your farming operation.  Rotational benefit and risk considerations.   
  • Management recommendations (soil types, pH, fertility requirements, equipment selection, pest control, seeding dates and rates, what to expect at harvest, etc.)
  • Potential marketing outlets for different species. Quality parameters and how they differ between seed, food, and feed, storage management considerations, and potential for adding value on the farm.

On August 15, 2019 the “Alternative Crop Field Day” was hosted at Buck Farms in Mapleton, Maine.  Buck Farms participated in this project during the 2018 and 2019 growing seasons hosting both replicated research plots and field demonstrations.  The purpose of this field day was to highlight the progress of this project as well as updates from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s malting barley and oat variety trials and the recently funded Northeast SARE Farmer Grant FNE19-921, “Evaluating Alternative Malting Barley Varieties and their Acceptance in the Northeast Craft Brewing Industry”.

33 attendees including growers, crop service providers, University of Maine researchers, USDA/NRCS employees, and members of industry groups spent the day touring plots and fields and were updated with results from this project 2018 and 2019.  Guest speakers included Martin Hochhalter from Meridian Seeds in North Dakota, Burton Johnson from North Dakota State University, Ellen Mallory from the University of Maine Cooperative Extention, Jacob Buck from Buck Farms, and myself.  The speakers shared their expertise and educated the audience of how alternative crops can benefit farming operations.  The announcement and flyer for the field day are included in the following links: 

2019 Alternative Crop Field Day

2019 Barley and Oat Vty Trial Info

Beneficiary support

The project team supported cooperating growers by providing informational materials and one on one technical assistance with field and species selection, plot and treatment layout, equipment calibration, fertility and pest control options and recommendations, and harvest and storage planning and management.  The project team also provided assistance with data collection, field observations, and yield calculations.  Data was compiled from both plot trials as well as on farm demonstration sites in a shared file that project participants are able to access electronically upon request.

Milestones

Milestone #1 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

450 potato and grain growers, livestock producers, and regional marketing outlets received an email containing background information and a factsheet as notification of the Developing Best Management Practices for Pulse and Oilseed Crops in the Northeast project by October 31, 2017.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
450
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
450
Proposed Completion Date:
November 30, 2017
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
December 12, 2017
Accomplishments:

 SARE-Award-Announcement-MPB

LNE17-358-SARE-MPB-Project-Factsheet1

Announcement of project and factsheet was emailed to the Maine Potato Board grower list consisting of approximately 300 people.

Announcement of project and factsheet was sent to website manager to be included on the Maine Potato Board’s website.

Announcement and factsheet was emailed to agricultural service provider companies, dairy industry groups, beef industry groups, pork industry groups, and University of Maine Cooperative Extension faculty for distribution.

Milestone #2 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

By December 31, 2017, 100 crop growers, 5 livestock producers, and 10 marketing outlets return the survey and agree to participate in the educational portion of the project. 2 growers agree to host on farm demonstration trials.

Due to the fact that there were no responses to the initial correspondence announcing the project, 6 farmers were contacted and asked to participate in this project. 3 farms hosted on farm demonstrations and 2 marketing outlets received product produced as part of this project. It was anticipated that additional farmers will participate in the 2019 cropping year of the project.

It is thought that level of interest stems from lack of seed handling (dryers, cleaners, silos) infrastructure on a majority of farms. It is also thought the lack of interest stems from the adoption of green manure cover crops grown in an attempt to improve soil health. While these crops do not provide direct economic return, their production is requires little management and adds crop biomass to the soil benefiting the subsequent potato crop.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
105
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
6
Proposed Completion Date:
May 1, 2018
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
May 1, 2018
Accomplishments:

6 participating farmers planted a total of 50 acres of yellow field peas, 60 acres of sunflowers, and 50 acres of canola as part of this project’s on farm demonstration section.

Milestone #3 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

The 115 participants who returned the survey are invited to attend a winter workshop where they will be updated on project details, plans for the upcoming growing season, and view presentations from experts in the pulse and oilseed industries. Workshops will be held in February or March of 2018. Of the 115 invitees, 85 will attend.

Again, due to lack of responses from initial project announcement correspondence, the cooperating farmers were contacted directly. In lieu of winter workshops, individual meetings with the farmers were more sensible.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
85
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
6
Proposed Completion Date:
May 1, 2018
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
May 1, 2018
Accomplishments:

Growers were very willing to participate in the project.  Yellow peas were a new crop for one group of growers.  Sunflowers had been grown on a small scale prior to this project on the 2 collaborating growers farms and due to the success, marketability, and perceived benefit to their cropping systems, the growers wanted to learn more and scale up production.  The participating canola producer was willing to participate to see if yields could be increased.

Milestone #4 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

By June of 2018, pulse and oilseed crops are planted in research plots and on 2 collaborating growers’ farms.

Research plots were planted in May of 2018 and planting of demonstration trials on 3 collaborating farms was completed by June of 2018.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
2
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
6
Proposed Completion Date:
June 30, 2018
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
June 6, 2018
Accomplishments:

Research plots were planted on May 16 and May 23, 2018.  Field pea demonstration trials were planted on May 19, 2018.  Sunflower demonstration trials were planted on May 29 and June 6, 2018 and canola demonstration trials were planted on May 23, 2018

Milestone #5 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

The field demonstration trials were mostly hosted by seed potato growers and due to bio-security concerns, there were no field days held on the private farms. On July 23, a group from Prince Edward Islands W.A. Grain and Pulse toured the plots. W.A. Grain and Pulse has recently built a grain and pulse crop handling facility and has been working with growers in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island on integrating pulse crops into their crop rotations. W.A. Grain and Pulse is the largest buyer of pulse crops in close proximity to Maine.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
85
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
1
Proposed Completion Date:
July 23, 2019
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
July 23, 2018
Accomplishments:

The results from the 2018 trials were presented at the December 05, 2018 Maine Soil and Agronomy Workshop.

Milestone #6 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

Data collected from 2018 plot and cooperating grower trials is presented at multiple winter agricultural meetings throughout New England where 600 attendees including farmers and industry professionals will learn about project progress. These meetings will be held from January through April of 2019.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
600
Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
25
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
100
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
30
Proposed Completion Date:
December 1, 2018
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
December 5, 2018
Accomplishments:

Developing-Best-Management-Practices-for-Pulse-and-Oilseed

On December 05, 2018, a presentation was made at the Maine Soil and Agronomy Workshop to update growers, crop advisors, and other industry professionals on the progress of this project.  There were approximately 100 farmers and 30 agricultural service providers in attendance. A presentation Cropportunities PPT, was made to a group of agricultural service providers and government and provincial extension agents in Fredericton, NB Canada on February 11, 2019.

Milestone #7 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

A field day on August 15, 2019 was hosted to share project results, challenges, and progress. The field day was attended by 33 growers and crop consultants. The field day toured the replicated plots of field peas, chickpeas, canola, and mustard as well as the field demonstration trials of field peas, canola, mustard, and sunflowers. Attendees were able to walk the fields, learn the purpose of the experiments, and hear from guest speakers specialized in the aforementioned crop production practices.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
85
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
300
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
30
Proposed Completion Date:
March 30, 2019
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
August 15, 2019
Accomplishments:

Consultations were held with participating grower during the spring months of 2019. The results of the plot and field demonstration trials were discussed including what worked and what didn’t in 2018, what could be improved upon in 2019. Changes from 2018 practices were implemented in the 2019 crop production and resulted in better stands and reduced input costs.

Milestone #8 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

By May 2019, the 2 initial collaborating growers increase pulse and oilseed acreage and 4 additional growers begin to produce pulse and/or oilseed crops.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
6
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
10
Proposed Completion Date:
May 31, 2019
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
June 7, 2019
Accomplishments:

Participating growers from 2018 continued production of pulse and oilseed crops in 2019.  Acreage remained constant with a decrease in field pea production.  The decrease in field pea production was due to low market value for yellow field peas for the pet food industry coupled with the relatively low value of the Canadian dollar, which is where the peas were sold.  Field pea production was reduced to 11 acres in 2019 and were produced for the seed market which proved much more economical.  Peas were marketed to local organic growers for seed.  The addition of condiment mustard in 2019 proved to be a success given a local mustard mill was interested in sourcing locally produced mustard seed.

Milestone #9 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

By May 31, 2020, 20 growers dedicate acreage to pulse and/or oilseed crops due to the level of information they received from educational and field demonstration components of this project. Verification of the number of growers adopting these crops will be through documented personal communication (i.e. emails and/or phone calls).

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
20
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
7
Proposed Completion Date:
May 31, 2020
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
May 7, 2020
Accomplishments:

The cooperating growers who participated in this project are continuing with production of pulse and oilseed crops.  Some growers are maintaining production at the same acreage while others are increasing acreage devoted to these crops.  In 2020 growers plan on dedicating 150 acres to sunflowers, 125 acres to canola, 25 acres to condiment mustard, and 100 acres to field peas.  While the number of growers adopting these crops is lower than originally estimated, the fact that growers are maintaining and in some cases increasing pulse and oilseed acreage in Maine is a testament to the success of this project.

Milestone Activities and Participation Summary

10 Consultations
1 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
4 On-farm demonstrations
4 Webinars / talks / presentations
1 Workshop field days

Participation Summary

6 Farmers
1 Number of agricultural educator or service providers reached through education and outreach activities

Learning Outcomes

6 Farmers reported changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness as a result of their participation
Key areas in which farmers reported changes in knowledge, attitude, skills and/or awareness:

Farmers were interested in learning how to produce additional crops.  Those growers with past experience were interested in learning how to increase yield and reduce input costs.

Performance Target Outcomes

Target #1

Target: number of farmers:
20
Target: change/adoption:

20 potato growers will integrate pulse and oilseed crops into their crop rotations. The addition of crops will diversify the cropping system, create direct revenue through marketing these alternative crops, and create indirect revenue by improvements to the potato crop.

Target: amount of production affected:

600 acres.

Target: quantified benefit(s):

Alternative markets such as bird seed, seed production, food processing, and oil.

Actual: number of farmers:
7
Actual: change/adoption:

Diversified crop production systems from potato, grain, and green manures to include potato, grain, pulse or oilseed.

Actual: amount of production affected:

7 growers adopted and maintained production of pulse and oilseed crops on approximately 545 acres. Sunflower and canola acreage remained constant while field pea and condiment mustard acreage increased.

Actual: quantified benefit(s):

Additional markets such as certified seed production, food processing, birdseed, and oil. The revenue produced from these crops is higher than for oats or feed barley; the traditional potato rotation crops grown in Maine.

Performance Target Outcome Narrative:

Although the number of farmers integrating pulse and oilseed crops into their production systems was less than anticipated (7 out of the 20 target), the number of acres in production was very close to the target (545 out of 600).  New markets such as birdseed, food processing, and seed production were gained.

Verification of results was confirmed via personal communication with the cooperating farmers.

 

7 Farmers changed or adopted a practice

Additional Project Outcomes

Additional Outcomes:

Through attendance at presentations regarding this project, I was invited to speak at the Prince Edward Island Cereals and Oilseeds Conference on March 04 and 05, 2020 in Summerside, PEI Canada.  The title of the presentation was “Pulses in a Potato Rotation”.  The audience was approximately 150 potato growers, crop consultants, and provincial and governmental extension personnel.

2020 Cereal and Oilseeds Agenda Final (2)

Pulse Crops in Maine Potato Rotations

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.