Episode 14

Published on:

4th Oct 2023

The Diverse Opportunities in Pulse Crops with Steve Tucker and Dr. Bob Harveson

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Whether you’re from Nebraska or elsewhere, this is a great episode about what’s possible for the future of pulse crops. We talk about peas and chickpeas, but we also get into other niche opportunities like mung beans, cowpeas and more. You’ll get a sense of the emerging pulse industry in Nebraska, but also what it takes for the development of pulse crops everywhere. We discuss genetics, agronomy, disease management and marketing strategy. We start with Steve Tucker. Steve farms near Venango, Nebraska in the southwest part of the state. He has built his operation on the principle of diversity and grows up to 14 different crops.

“We can grow mung beans, I mean, there's different...aspects of these different things that we can do. What does the market need? And so I just had a conversation with a company that's looking for lupins. I don't know if you've ever heard of lupins before and so there are more various different kinds of pulse crops that who knows what else is out there and what people are looking for to utilize in food products.” - Steve Tucker

When plant pathologist Dr. Bob Harveson came to the University of Nebraska in 1999, chickpeas were really on the rise in the state. Sometime in the early 2000’s ascochyta really started to affect a lot of fields and there were no fungicides labeled for the disease for treatment. Since then he said fungicide options have improved over time as have genetics. Unfortunately, many of those same growers who experienced the devastating losses from ascochyta are very hesitant to plant chickpeas or even other pulse crops again. Despite these frustrations, Bob remains optimistic for the future of chickpeas and other pulses in the state. 

“I have a strong diagnostic background. So whenever something like this pops up, I try to determine what the problem is, how well it's distributed, you know, those sorts of things. Before you can start developing control measures, you gotta know what you've got in order to really make the right choice for that.” - Dr. Bob Harveson

This Week on Growing Pulse Crops:

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.