UN's agriculture group declares the International Year of Pulses

Pulses -- leguminous crops yielding from one of 12 seeds (dry beans, kidney beans, dry peas, lentils and others) -- are essential for food security around the world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. 

Because of their nutrient value and use as a nitrogen fix in crop rotations, the FAO has declared this year the International Year of Pulses.

Farmers who plant the same seeds on the same plots of land each year are doing themselves a disservice as this practice, known as monoculture, leads to an increase in weeds, pests and diseases all resistant to control methods. Instead, farmers should farm by the principles of Conservation Agriculture, including setting up a crop rotation schedule. 

Crop rotation disrupts the life cycles of diseases and pests while maintaining weed control and ensuring nutrients are more equally distributed among deeper roots. Crop rotation also helps farmers reduce residue by scheduling crops that produce a large amount of residue before a crop that produces little residue.

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