About pulses

Pea (Pisum sativum L.)

Climate and soil demand.
The seeds start to germinate at 3 to 4 oC; germination optimum 15 oC. The well grown plant is not sensitive to minor frost (-2 –3 oC), also the flowers stand -1 –2 oC. The round seeded pea tolerates also lower temperatures.
The pea is shooting when the daily average temperature is over 4.4 oC. Average temperature higher than this is called useful daily heat unit. From the day on when the temperature exceeds the treshold value of 4.4 oC we are daily adding the useful daily heat units and we obtain the useful heat unit sum.
The duration of the pea’s vegetation period depends from the quantity of heat during vegetation period. The useful heat unit sum is between 600 and 1000 oC.
For germination, the round seeded pea needs a water quantity equal to 106 to 107 % of the seed weight, the wrinkled pea needs 150 to 155 %.
Pea is not particular about soil. Except poor sandy soils and very saline soils, it can be produced everywhere. Its soil demand is similar to that of wheat.
Crop rotation. Pea is incompatible with itself. Where it is produced without interruption, soil exhaustion arises. It should not be sown in the same parcel more frequently than 4 to 5 years.
Pea is normally produced between two cereals. Pea is followed by a winter crop as it is one of the best preceding crops for winter crops.
Fertilization, soil preparation. Pea is yielding very quick returns for organic manuring. On soils poor in nitrogen a half portion of fresh (raw) manure can be also directly applied under the pea, in return it will give high yield. On good soil, under the effect of manure, the pea is growing too luxuriant and is poorly setting seeds. Thus on soil rich in nitrogen a manuring two – three years earlier suits the best to it.
Pea starts to germinate at 3 to 4 oC already thus it can be sown early.
The low growing pea produced for human consumption can be sown into good culture condition soil to cereal row width. The varieties growing taller and if the soil is getting very weedy are better sown into rows which can be hoed (24 to 36 cm).
In case we are growing seeds for sowing the pea has to be definitely sown into hoeable rows: dwarf peas to 24 cm, the medium tall and tall peas to 36 to 40 cm row width. We can sow also to twin row when 12 to 24 and 40 to 50 cm row widths alternate with each other.
Depth of sowing - depending on humidity of seed bed, soil structure and seed size – is 7 to 10 cm. Pea requires deep sowing because a lot of humidity is needed for its germination. Further on there are less damages by birds in pea sown deep. For one running metre 15 seeds are sown in case of cereal row width, 20 seeds at double cereal row width and 25 seeds at 36 cm row width. This equals to 170 to 240 kg/ha depending on thousand seed weight.
Intercultivation. Pea is sprouting soon after sowing. At this time a light harrow comb is applied. No harrow comb should be used in the early morning hours because at this time the plants are more fragile.
In pea sown to a wider row width a cultivator can be applied once or twice. The fast growing pea shades quickly the soil and suppresses well the weeds.
For split peas, concentrate or seeds for sowing, the pea is to be harvested ripe. Even in this case we can not wait up all pods to fully ripe.
The pea is to be harvested when the lowest pods became yellow, the kernels are fully developed and are no more soft. If we wait longer we will have very high shedding losses and increasing weevil damages. The pea harvested unripe gets stuck. The shedding losses decrease significantly if pea is harvested at dawn, at night.
The pea viner is equally well harvesting the low, tall and lodged pea and is putting in loose mowings. The swathed pea is to be treshed from the mowings with converted combine harvester as soon as possible (at 14 % moisture) (double phase harvest).
The single phase harvest can start at 18 to 19 % moisture too, thus the shedding losses are lower. But in this case we have to dry the threshed seeds immediately.
The treshed crop is to be cleaned and de-weeviled without delay.
Purity of round seeded pea produced for seed for sowing has to be min. 95 to 99 %, germination min. 90 to 95 %, purity of wrinkled pea min. 95 to 99 %, germination min. 85 to 90 %. May not contain weevil grub.
Weight of pea straw is 1.2 to 2 times the seed crop. A medium quality forage, mainly foddered with sheep.

Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.)

Climate and soil demand.
Bean is a plant of the warm climate. The northern border of dry bean’s production equals to that of vine. A temperature of 8 to 10 oC is needed for germination. Optimal growth temperature is 22 oC. Is very frost-susceptible, the foliage is already perishing at temperatures around freezing point. The steady summer rains are unfavourable for the growth because that kind of weather hinders ripening besides it facilitates the developent of diseases. Most water is needed during flowering and fructification.
Is less demanding on light than pea. Tolerates well the half shade (therefore it was possible to produce as intercrop of maize).
Fertilization, soil preparation. Manure can be distributed under it on soil poor in humus, on better quality soil bean should be produced two-three years after manure.
Soil preparation is the same as for maize.
Sowing. Bean is sown end of April, first half of May, when danger of frost is over. In areas with frequent May frosts the sowing is to be postponed to mid May.
Bush bean is sown to 24 to 45 cm row width. 15 to 20 seeds are calculated for one running metre, e.g. 100 to 140 kg/ha.
Depth of sowing: 5 to 6 cm.
Pole bean is sown to 70 x 70 cm growing area, into seed-hole. 4 to 6 seeds are sown in each seed-hole.
Intercultivation consists of weed control, and of removal of other varieties in case of seed production. Against Pseudomonas phaseolicola, Xanthomonas phaseoli, Corynebacterium flaccum-faciens a preventive protection is provided by healthy seed for sowing.
Harvesting, treshing. The bean sown for fresh consumption and for canning can be harvested in the second half of June or in July. It is important to carry away immediately the harvested green bean.
The dry bean is ripening at the end July, in August. When the beans shelled out from their pod can be yet biten through with tooth but are already hardening, the harvest starts.
Tests with single phase harvest were unsuccessful until now. Therefore it is swathered in first phase. At bean harvesting, the height of cutting is of oustanding importance, because the most developed pods are down below and the harvest losses are not due to shedding but due to cutting of the lower pods. Therefore it is very important to make flat surface already at soil preparation in order the swather to operate on even soil surface. Better are the machines cutting the plant below the soil level. The swathing is made at dawn. The breaking of kernels should not exceed 4 to 5 %. Treshing is to start always after drying up of morning dew. In large scale farm production 1 t/ha crop can be harvested without irrigation, 2 t/ha with irrigation.
Weight of straw is about 1.5 times the seed crop; suitable to feed sheep.

Lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.)

Old cultivated plant along the Mediterranean.
It prefers moderate warm climate.
Fertilization, soil preparation. No manuring directly under lentil as it is very sensible to the nitrogen predomination. Best sown in soil manured two or three years earlier. It is the pulse crop of poor soils. Soil preparation is the same as for pea.
Sowing, intercultivation. Is sown early spring, after pea or at the same time. Can be sown on weed-free soil to cereal row width, otherwise better sown into hoeable row (24 to 30 cm). 40 seeds calculated to one running metre 70 to 100 kg seeds needed per hectare depending on thousand seed weight. Sowing depth 3 to 5 cm. When produced mixed with barley 1 kg barley is calculated to 3 to 4 kg lentil and the well mixed seeds are sown together.
Lentil sown to cereal row width is cultivated only with harrow comb, the wider row width lentil is to be cultivated with weeder. During flowering all plants with no white flower have to be weeded out, because the bitter seed of purplish-reddish flowered lentil vetch worsens the crop’s value.
Harvesting. Ripes early July, usualy after wheat. It is harvasted when the lower pods are of yellowish-brown colour and kernels inside are hard. Similar to the bean it is harvested in two phases.
The lentil is of good value when the kernels have intact edge, are uniform, large, of light green colour, and there are no weeviled, broken, spoiled kernels; if its shell is thin and is easy to cook.
The kernels’ size is changing per vintage even per stem (kernels in the lower pods are larger).
Weight of straw is 1 to 1.2 times the seed crop. An excellent quality forage. The protein content is about 14 %, the nutritive value is close to that of hay.

Soya bean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.]

Among pulses soya is remarkable for its protein (around 36 %) being of full biological value, namely the most important amino-acids (tryptophan, lysine, cystine, valine, leucine and tyrosine) can be found in it therefore it is suitable to substitute the animal proteins in human nutrition.
Its seed contains about 18 % crude fat. Its oil is hylf-drying, 95 to 100 % edible, is an excellent cooking oil.
It’s worth te mention that soya is the richest vegetable source of lecithin (2 % of its oil is lecithin), playing important role in the nutrition of nerves, in the digestion of carbohydrates and fats. Further on it contains provitamin A (carotene), vitamins D, B and E.
Sowing, intercultivation. To be sown mid April when soil temperature reached 12 oC. Late sown soya is suffering a lot from aridity and, due to the already long daylights, its vegetation period gets longer.
Depending on variety, soya is sown to 45 to 50 cm row width, to a depth of 4 to 7 cm. 33 seeds per running metre to be sown which – depending on the thousand seed weight – equals to 100 to 130 kg/ha. 24 to 26 stems per running metre remaining after the natural decrease of plants (20 to 25 %) are optimal.
Soya is sprouting about 10 days after sowing. If the soil is crusting and the sprouting is slow to start, a light harrow comb, spoked hoe, ring roller etc. should run.
Harvest. Harvest is to start when the seeds in the pods are alrady hard and of colour typical for the variety. At that stage the seeds’ moisture is around 14 % and the plant has lost its leaves. Ripes normally in September. If the stem of soya is tall and the pods are not deep- sitting, it can be combine harvested in single phase; but the tresher is to be converted as told at the bean. Otherwise, it is less seed shedding than the other pulses.
Treshed seeds are to be immediatelly cleaned. Upto full drying the seeds are to be stored in a thin layer and to be daily turned or to be artificially dehydrated at 40 oC.
Its straw can be foddered with sheep.

Horse bean (Vicia faba L.)


A very high value annual concentrate crop. Its crop is rich in protein. Digestible protein content is 19 to 20 %, starch value 70 %. Stem is vigorous, straight growing, lignifying, 60 to 100 cm tall. Flower is white, sometimes with black marks. Mainly self-fertilizing, but cross fertilization is common too. The pods growing in group are standing up and getting black at ripening. Depending on variety, the kernels are of very variable size and colour. Thousand seed weight of the varieties grown in Hungary is usually around 400 to 600 grams. Purity of good quality commercial seed is 96 to 98 %, germination 90 to 92 %.

Prefers the rainy warm climate, in dryness is developing satisfactorily only if the roots can cover the plants water need from the soil’s depth. Tolerates frosts well enough.
Feels well on good wheat soil. Not suited to poor sand, saline soil and to low depth soil. It is richly developing on soil one-sidedly rich in nitrogen but seed setting is poor.
It is not susceptible to precedent crop. Is excellent precedent crop of winter wheat. Concerning fertilization and soil preparation the same applies as for pea.
Early sown horse bean tolerates dryness better. In general it is sown to 36 to 40 cm row width, to a depth of 6 to 8 cm. 12 to 14 seeds are calculated per running metre, i.e. 170 kg/ha is needed from seed with 500 g thousand seed weight.
Following sprouting it has to be machine hoed as soon as possible. Hoeings are to be repeated 2 to 3 times according to need. In dryness horse bean is often overrun by the black plant-louse. It has to be fought against.
Horse bean ripes end of July, early August. Its ripening is extremely irregular and the seeds are easily shedding. Is to be harvested when the lower pods are getting black. At treshing the machine is to be carefully adjusted as the seeds are getting easily broken.

Chickling vetch (Lathyrus sativus L.)

A high value concentrate crop of dry areas. Its straw is sheep fodder. Hay can also be made of it. Its kernel contains 17 to 19 % digestible protein, starch value is 51 %. The concentrate can be foddered in a proportion of max. 30 % with all animals, a larger proportion can eventually cause disease.
It was recommended also for green fodder crop, but it is expensive for this purpose because of the high need of seed for sowing.
Has excellent drought resistance. In case of rainy weather it craks, is frequently infested with fusarium and the yield is decreasing. Its most important disease is the pea rust. Tolerates well the spring late frosts, but is growing well in warm weather.
It grows on almost all soils. It is the most important leguminous plant of the saline and meadow clay soils. Is not suspectible to the nutrients content of soil, grows also on poor soil. Only not suitable to friable sand and boggy soil.
Sown in early spring at the same time as spring grains. For second crop it can be sown directly following harvest. Best sown to 28 cm row width. Can be sown in twin rows, when 28 cm and 12 cm row distances alternate with each other. 20 to 25 seeds are calculated per linear metre, i.e. depending on thousand seed weight, 160 to 200 kg/ha seed is needed. If sown two cereal row width, 220 kg/ha is needed.
The sprouted and grown slightly stronger chickling vetch is harrow combed.
Is riping normally after bread grains, in mid July. It is harvested when the lower pods are getting yellow and the kernels inside are hard. Harvest is made at dawn, however it is not shedding. Care should be taken to avoid the machine to break the seeds.

Chick pea (Cicer arietinum L.)

It is drought resistant like chickling vetch, therefore it is grown mainly in the areas lacking in rainfall of the Great Hungarian Plain. The crop is a concentrate rich in protein, in some area of Hungary it is also used for food. It is delicate when well prepared for soup, garnish. Yield is 1.5 to 2 t/ha kernel. The kernels are yellowish-white (for human consumption) or black (for fodder), ball-shaped, with a bill-shaped bulge on the one side. Thousand seed weight: 280 to 350 g.
Concerning rotation, fertilization and soil preparation it has similar requirements as chickling vetch.
Sowing at mid, end of  March, normally to 30 to  36 cm row width, to a depth of 4 to 5 cm. 10 to 12 seeds calculated per runing metre, i.e. 90 to 130 kg/ha.
Intercultivation: weed control.
It is harvested in the first half of July when the kernels are hard. Is not shedding. Harvest and treshing like at chickling pea.