New lentil being readied for market

Mar 16, 2010

"Essex," a new lentil variety developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists, has a lot to offer: high seed yields for growers, nitrogen-fixing bacteria for wheat crops, and a tasty source of protein for consumers to add to soups, salads and other fare.

George Vandemark, a who leads the ARS Grain Legume Genetics and Physiology Research Unit in Pullman, Wash., developed Essex in collaboration with Fred Muehlbauer, now retired from ARS, and Kevin McPhee, a pulse crop breeder at North Dakota State University's Department of Plant Sciences in Fargo.

Essex was chosen for public release based on its outstanding performance in advanced yield trials conducted over the past couple of years in Washington State, Idaho, North Dakota and Montana. In 2008, the four states combined produced an estimated $87 million worth of lentils, about 78 percent of which was exported.

During trials, Essex averaged 1,220 pounds of seed per acre, which is 21 percent more than Eston and 22 percent more than Athena, two leading commercial varieties that the researchers used for comparison. Plants of Essex matured at about the same time as Eston and produced small seeds with yellow interiors and green coats. Besides protein levels of 20 to 30 percent by dry weight, the seeds are high in fiber, minerals and vitamins.

Essex also enjoys a symbiotic relationship with beneficial soil microbes-specifically, root-colonizing Rhizobium bacteria, whose ability to take nitrogen from the atmosphere and turn it into a form plants can use for growth helps naturally replenish the soil's fertility for subsequent crops of wheat and other grains. Other benefits of using lentils as a rotation crop in small-grain cultivation systems include reduced , improved weed control and reduced disease severity and incidence.

Derived from conventional breeding, Essex is intended for production in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Plains, with primary markets in Mexico and other Latin American nations anticipated.

Essex may be ready for sale to growers in 2011. Further details will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Plant Registrations.

Explore further: Brother of Hibiscus is found alive and well on Maui

Provided by United States Department of Agriculture

4 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cuphea Does Wonders for Wheat and Corn in Rotations

Jan 11, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Growing the oilseed plant called cuphea the year before growing wheat results in better wheat seedling survival and grain that is 8 percent higher in protein, according to an Agricultural ...

In Organic Cover Crops, More Seeds Means Fewer Weeds

Jan 26, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Farmers cultivating organic produce often use winter cover crops to add soil organic matter, improve nutrient cycling and suppress weeds. Now these producers can optimize cover crop use by ...

Recommended for you

Brother of Hibiscus is found alive and well on Maui

8 hours ago

Most people are familiar with Hibiscus flowers- they are an iconic symbol of tropical resorts worldwide where they are commonly planted in the landscape. Some, like Hawaii's State Flower- Hibiscus brackenridgei- are en ...

Boat noise impacts development and survival of sea hares

11 hours ago

While previous studies have shown that marine noise can affect animal movement and communication, with unknown ecological consequences, scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Exeter and the École Pratique des Hautes ...

Classic Lewis Carroll character inspires new ecological model

Jul 30, 2014

Inspired by the Red Queen in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, collaborators from the University of Illinois and National University of Singapore improved a 35-year-old ecology model to better understand how species ...

Saving seeds the right way can save the world's plants

Jul 30, 2014

Exotic pests, shrinking ranges and a changing climate threaten some of the world's most rare and ecologically important plants, and so conservationists establish seed collections to save the seeds in banks ...

User comments : 0