«Previous    Next»
New Crop Gaining Foothold In Midwest
Lupines, a crop that's in big demand in France and other European countries, has contracted out quickly to farmers in the upper Midwest who are scheduled to deliver some 12 million bushels of the new crop to the French government over the next three years.
Billed as a low-cost alternative to soybeans, Lupines are a square white nitrogen-fixing bean that's high in protein at 32 to 40% protein and slightly bigger than the soybean at 1,000 beans per pound versus, 2,000 to 3,000 beans per pound for soybeans. Promoters say they are cheaper to grow and easier to feed to livestock than soybeans.
"They don't have to be processed like soybeans to feed to livestock," says Ken Haman, general manager of Good Earth Agra Products, Inc., Perham, Minn., the company handling the new crop. "You can feed them directly to livestock at up to 20% of the ration without processing. They can either be left whole or ground and fed directly to livestock."
One acre of lupines produces an average yield of beans of 33 bu., or about a ton of beans with 85% of the feed value of soybeans. For northern Minnesota, costs have been pegged at around $100 to $140 per acre and the company guarantees growers about $7 per bu.
Although lupines show signs of being an excellent livestock feed, nearly all of this year's production will be shipped to France. The company has negotiated a contract with the French government to deliver 12 million bu. of lupines over the next three years, starting with 220,500 bu. in 1984 and growing to 6.5 million bu. in 1986. Some 200 farmers have already been signed up this year, and word is spreading fast among those farmers eligible.
Lupines are a cold weather crop that grows well in light sandy soils with a ph of from 5.0 to 6.5 They can be planted before corn as the seedlings withstand cold. The company says the ideal growing areas are in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Maine, as well as some southern areas of Canada. The amount of seed available for 1984 is limited and most of the available acres have already been contracted.
Researchers at Michigan State, who are credited with perfecting the North American lupine, are now working on a warmer weather bean. The lupine has a main stalk and four secondary stalks. The main stalk has five or six pods and the others have about four pods each, with each pod containing five to six beans. The plant fixes about 70 lbs. of nitrogen per acre. It's normally planted at a rate of 150 lbs. of seed per acre in 6 or 7-in. spaced rows.
The Europeans have used lupines for years as livestock feed and for human consumption. "Even the Egyptians grew lupines years ago," Haman told FARM SHOW.
Even though most of the crop has been contracted for this year, the company is looking for growers for future years.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Good Earth Agra Products, Inc., P.O. Box 158, Perham, Minn. 56573 (ph 218 346-2580).

  Click here to download page story appeared in.

  Click here to read entire issue

To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.
Order the Issue Containing This Story
1984 - Volume #8, Issue #2