Defra-funded £5.9m research project aims to promote pulse farming usage

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

The project aims to increase the production of pulses and legumes
The project aims to increase the production of pulses and legumes

Related tags Defra pulses feed Poultry Livestock Pork

A Defra-funded £5.9m research project which aims to increase the prominence of pulses in arable and pastoral farming has been launched.

A new research project into the use of pulses in farming kicked off last month (June 2023), with nearly £6m in funding from Government department Defra.

The Processors and Growers Research Organisation (PGRO) led scheme will last four years in total and involves 200 UK farms and 17 partners.

Dubbed the ‘Nitrogen Efficient Plants for Climate Smart Arable Cropping Systems’ project, it aims to increase pulse cropping in arable rotations from 5% to 20% across the UK, while also reducing livestock industry reliance on imported soya meal.

The goal is to cut soya meal usage in feed by 50%, with plans for it to be replaced with home-grown pulses and legumes.

Meat industry sustainability

Pig and poultry feed manufacturer ABN is one of the 17 partners involved in the project and hopes the research will support its attempts to improve sustainability levels within the industry.

The project directly complements ABN’s long-term strategy, as we strive to reduce the carbon footprint of our supply chain, while supporting the future of the British pig and poultry livestock industries​,” said ABN senior nutrition manager Brian Kenyon.

A key part of that approach involves placing greater emphasis on research into the increased use of UK-grown pulses as an alternative protein source in our feed​.”

Soya is one of the biggest drivers of emissions in the manufacturing of pig and poultry diets, so replacing its use with UK-grown pulses and legumes could lead to significant carbon footprint reductions.

Looking at our current standard poultry diets, pulses currently only make up 2.5% of the diet based on our processed product​,” Kenyon added.

The aim is to increase this to 10%, which will have the dual benefit of not only increasing the home-grown content, but also contributing to reducing the soya reliance by half​.”

Meanwhile, regular beer sales took a tumble in the past year​, as more drinkers make the move to low or no alcohol alternatives.

Related topics Supply Chain

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