What is a pulse?  The word pulse comes from the Latin puls which means a thick soup or porridge.


Pulses are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family.  The legume family consists of more than 600 genera and over 13,000 species.  The pulses crops are considered a part of the legume family, but only refer to the dried seed.  Those include the dried peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas.  Pulse crops are often referred to as grain legumes.  Our lab is mostly concerned with dry pea, lentil, and chickpea.

Montana is now the #1 producer of dry pea and lentils!

Montana produces 48% of the U.S. dry pea and 39% of U.S. lentils.

Research has shown that replacing fallow acres with pulse crops results in economic gains for producers.  Field trials also show yield boosts in wheat when grown on land that was previously peas.  There are several varieties of dried pea grown including Austrian Winter Pea, Green Pea, Yellow Pea, Maple Peas, and Marrowfat Peas.

There are many types of Lentil grown as well, including Eston Class, French Green, Laird Class, Red, Richlea Class, and Spanish brown.  High value, specialty lentils are also grown, such as blue.  The two main types of chickpea include Desi and Kabuli.

Pulses are good for your health!

Pulses are high in protein and fiber.  They are also low in fat.  They have high levels of iron zinc, phosphorus, folate, and other B-vitamins. One hundred grams of cooked chickpeas contain 18% of your recommended daily value of protein, 30% of dietary fiber, 43% folate and 52% manganese.  There is no cholesterol and little sodium.

Pulses are good for the environment!

Pulses are nitrogen fixing crops.  That means they improve the environmental sustainability of annual cropping systems in Montana.  They also utilize soil moisture very effectively.

It is predicted that Montana pulse acreage could increase to nearly 1.4 million acres in the next 5-10 years.

This requires an increase in research within the state devoted to all aspects of pulse crop improvement, including studies of marketing, breeding, diagnostics, crop rotations, and disease.  Our lab will be focused on diseases affecting pulse crops in the state of Montana. Please contact us with questions or concerns.  


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