Swedish consumers’ interest for vegetarian and organic food is rapidly increasing, which provides new opportunities for farmers to diversify their cropping systems via increased and production of e.g. vegetables and grain legumes such as beans, lentils and peas.
Grain legumes are excellent sources of healthy, protein rich food, and provide valuable additional ecosystem services via symbiotic nitrogen fixation and diversification of cropping systems. The currently increasing market demand can therefore stimulate a positive economic development for organic farmers who succeed to increase their production of the desired grain legumes. At the same time, increased grain legumes production has large potential to improve the productivity of subsequent crops and enhance soil fertility via their inputs of biologically fixed nitrogen.
We will present some of our practical experience, experimental results and ongoing activities within research and development for increased organic production of common bean and lentil in southern Sweden. Some of the issues that we will talk about are weed management and harvest technology for efficient grain legume production. We will also inform about an ongoing participatory research project together with organic farmers about intercropping grain legumes and cereals.