Evaluating the agronomic potential and nutrient production efficiency of pulse crop production in Central Pennsylvania

Open Access
Rimol, Kaitlyn Mary
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Mark Austin Dempsey, Thesis Supervisor
  • Heather D Karsten, Honors Advisor
  • William Curran, Faculty Reader
  • agriculture
  • legume
  • lentil
  • bean
  • pea
  • nutrient production
  • global food
  • food security
Pulse crop production is currently of marginal importance in the Northeast, especially in Pennsylvania. The purpose of this study was to determine the potential for pulse crop production in Central Pennsylvania as well as the relative nutrient production compared to other agricultural systems, should market forces make this economically viable. A one-year variety trial was conducted to determine the yield potential for multiple varieties of lentil, dry pea, and dry edible bean in Central Pennsylvania. Pea produced the highest yield, followed by dry bean and lentil. These yield results were used to conduct preliminary findings about the food production potential for Central Pennsylvania, and to compare pulse crop production to other agricultural systems, including grain and animal systems. These systems were compared on the basis of land use, calorie and protein production, and economics, and provided multiple platforms for comparison of each of the production systems in terms of future viability and practicality of feeding a growing global population.