Episode 1

Published on:

9th Feb 2023

Pulses and Soil Health with Paul Overby

Over the past 15 years Paul Overby has converted his North Dakota farm to no-till, added zone management for nutrient management, diversified his rotations and added cover crops. He shares his journey toward building healthier soils, the importance of pulse crops in his rotation, and his recent experiences with growing pea/canola intercrop. Overby had already started growing peas before he decided to make the switch to no-till, but his interest in pulses grew as he started to understand the benefits they can have on not only economics but on his soil health program as well.

“We did bring the peas in as a way of labor management, planting and harvesting early. And there was a market. Dakota Dry Bean at the time did have a pea market, so that was relatively close by and easy to ship into…. And then as we got into the whole soil health side of things, then having peas in a rotation started switching for other reasons. Some of the value in having them in the rotation started showing up as we started learning about arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.” -Paul Overby

Whether it’s as a primary crop, in an intercrop or as a cover crop, Overby sees pulses as an important part of his rotation and something to consider for anyone who wants to build healthier soils. Always on the hunt for new ideas to improve his farm, he observed what others were doing in intercropping. This led to a pea/canola intercrop experiment of his own last year.

“Canola and brassicas are not mycorrhizal associated plants, peas are. Is there a synergy there? Can you put peas under the soil and, and help out the canola that way? So this past year, we did a trial. We had two strips in a canola field where we had peas interceded with the canola.” - Paul Overby

This Week on Growing Pulse Crops:

  • Meet farmer Paul Overby and hear about his journey into no till, pulse crops and intercropping techniques
  • Understand Overby’s experience with cover crops and water infiltration and how that encouraged him to explore no till and pulse crops
  • Explore the soil health benefits Overby found beyond water infiltration from the pulse crops he has used

Growing Pulse Crops Podcast is hosted by Tim Hammerich of the Future of Agriculture Podcast.

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About the Podcast

Growing Pulse Crops
The science and business of farming field peas, chickpeas, and lentils
This show features the latest in research, agronomy, and economics of pulse crops (peas, chickpeas, lentils, etc.).

Demand for these nutrient-dense, high-protein foods continues to grow. There is also interest from farmers to include more pulses into diverse rotations for benefits like nitrogen fixation and soil health.

But the industry continues to face challenges, and we are eager to address these head on. So if you’re a pulse grower or in any way interested in these important crops, hit subscribe and stay tuned for future episodes. We’ll be back with plenty of information about challenges pulse farmers are facing throughout the U.S. and what solutions are working.

Brought to you by the Pulse Crops Working Group with support from the North Central IPM Center and USDA NIFA.

About your host

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Tim Hammerich

I share stories about agriculture, agtech, and agribusiness on podcasts and radio.