Project

Legume-Futures - Legume-supported cropping systems for Europe

The aim is to develop the use of legumes in cropping systems to improve the economic and environmental performance of European agriculture. The project will deliver cropping plans for European agricultural regions with local economic assessment of cropping systems. It will also assess the environmental impact of relevant farming system changes. This is focused on greenhouse gas emissions, nitrogen budgets, biodiversity and soil function.

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Legumes play a very special role in crop rotations, livestock feeding, and in our diets. They include important protein-rich crops such as peas and beans, and forage crops such as clover and alfalfa.  Legume plants host nitrogen fixing bacteria.   Legume crops improve soil fertility.  Legumes are therefore very relevant to the challenges and opportunities facing agriculture, particularly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing farmland biodiversity and protecting soil and water resources.

For more information please visit the Legume Futures website.


Publications

Optimising legume cropping: the policy questions
Kuhlman, T., Helming, J.F.M.  and Linderhof, V.G.M. (forthcoming). In: D. Murphy-Broken, Fred Stoddard and Christine Watson.
Legumes in Copping Systems
. CABI publishing.

Results

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The cultivation of legumes is low in Europe. Public policy incentives and/or regulations have a role to play in changing this. This chapter examines six such policies. The model CAPRI, a partial-equilibrium model for the agricultural sector, is used to simulate the effects of these policies and compare them to what would happen if no policy action were taken. Five of these policy scenarios are aimed at grain legumes (pulses and soybean), and one at forage legumes (in particular, clover). Three of the policies could be incorporated into the Common Agricultural Policy, whereas the other three are more general in nature: related to consumption, international trade and climate-change mitigation. It is the latter two that are likely to have the most significant effect on the cultivation of grain legumes.