It is frequently proposed that legumes are good for pollinators and that growing these crop types can support healthy pollinator populations that will subsequently provide ecosystem services in the landscape (Suso et al., 2016). Similarly, as many beneficial insects are flower feeders and use nectar, legumes may be an important component in supporting the pest enemies that deliver natural pest regulation. However, there are fundamental knowledge gaps, in particular there is little crop specific data available.
We will use both glasshouse and field trials to address these key gaps. The data will be used to design agronomic practices to deliver both increased soil fertility and IPPM in legume cropping systems. There will be a focus on the use of 'heritage' vegetable varieties (i.e. varieties not at present on a National List) in comparison to modern (F1 varieties). There is strong commercial interest in the increased of these varieties because of possible health/flavour benefits and the ability to produce them locally, so stimulating the rural economy. We will also explore the issues concerning marketing and the barriers to their increased utilisation.
More information: Blog post "Heritage varieties for better insect and human nutrition"
Type of legumes: Coventry University, UK Faba bean, Pea, Common bean, Forages
Type of farming system: Horticulture, conventional, organic
Case Study Leader: Coventry University, UK
Type of legumes Contact person: Francis Rayns, Coventry University, Center for Agroecology, Water and Resilience
TRansition paths to sUstainable legume-based systems in Europe (TRUE) has received funding from the
European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 727973