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Legume is the commonly used name for the family of flowering plants, Fabaceae. Any plant in the Fabaceae family that has leaves, stems and pods are referred to as a Legume.

Legumes are the third largest family of flowering plants, with a family of over 20,000 species. They have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen and release organic matter into the soil ultimately improving soil fertility. 

Lentils, beans and peas are classified as Pulses. Pulses are the edible seed of legumes, whereas legumes are used in agricultural applications such as cover crops and livestock feed. Legumes cover 180 million Ha of the Earth’s surface and make up around 27% of the world's crop production.

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A combination of sustainability, health & animal welfare concerns are pushing a shift away from meat in our diets to alternative proteins.

Pulses are leguminous crops harvested for dry protein-rich seed, with peas (pisum sativum) and beans (vicia faba) being the major crops in the UK.

Some symbiotic or free-living microorganisms can fix inert di-nitrogen (N) from the air into reactive organic nitrogenous compounds.  Most biological N fixation (BNF) in farming systems occurs in the root nodules of legumes where rhizobium bacteria take photosynthates from the plant in exchange for fixing atmospheric N and returning ammonium or amides which the plant uses to form amino acids, proteins, etc.   Plants need more N than any other nutrient and N commonly limits plant growth in many ecosystems. 

An Innovative Farmers Field Lab with four sheepers farmers working with ADAS has shown that long-held fears of red clover in herbal leys affecting fertility in sheep are unfounded, with the findings that inclusion of the legume can even have a positive effect on pregnancy rates.

Intercropping is a method of planting two or more crops in close proximity to each other, either in alternate rows or in the same row. The goal of intercropping is to maximize the use of available space and resources, such as sunlight, water, and nutrients. It can also help to improve soil health and increase crop diversity, which can provide a range of benefits including increased resistance to pests and diseases, and a longer harvest season.

George Eustice has announced that there willl be £12.5M made available for research and developme

Field beans (vicia faba) are a widely grown break crop across the UK on around 170,000 ha. 

Peas (pisum sativum) are grown either for combining dry seed (combining peas) or harvesting fresh as a vegetable or for freezing (vining peas).

Following the TRUE and LegValue EU projects this LinkedIn group with over 100 members continues to share resources for those interested in legume crops,

Innovative Farmers, as part of their involvement in the Horizon Europe LEGUMINOSE project we will be setting up trials with Reading University to look at the benefits of intercropping in arable rotations.

This Topic doesn't yet have a Stewarded summary, but connected groups, content and organisations show below. Click the 'Ask to Join' button if you would like to be a Steward for this Topic and provide a summary of current knowledge and recommend useful resources, organisations, networks and projects. "Like" this Topic if you would like to see it prioritised for providing a wikipedia style summary.   Branston are creating a potato derived protein product.

Scientia potentia est: knowledge is power. But understanding empowers. The purpose of the Legume Hub is to empower all interested in the development of legume crop production and use by providing access to validated knowledge. It is a platform dedicated to sharing knowledge and successful practices across value chains, from plant breeding, on-farm activities, through to processing and consumption.

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