Agronomy IV -Legume Crops

Agronomy course. Learn about growing broadacre legumes crops for human or animal food.

Course Code: BAG311
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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A course for farm workers, managers and suppliers who are involved in the production of legume food crops.

What can this course do for you?

  • Learn to produce a wider variety of pulse (legume) crops including different types of peas beans, lupins, soybeans, chickpeas etc.
  • Make better choices about what to grow, where and when
  • Diversify farm production for greater sustainability

How Legume Crops can Help the Farm

  • Legumes actually improve soil fertility. They have the ability to increase levels of nitrogen in the soil.
  • The biodiversity impact of varying the types of crops grown, can help reduce populations of pests and diseases
  • Farms that grow a greater variety of crops are diversifying their income. If income is derived from different crops, there is less chance of major financial issues. When prices are down on one crop, they may hold firm or be up on a different crop.

Legumes have a Diversity of Markets

 They are high in protein, and are the foundation for meat free human diets. Beans, peas and other legumes are critically important components in vegan and vegetarian diets. They are often a significant protein source for even meat eaters. Pulses are also a valued additive in animal feeds. Crops can be sold fresh or value added on or off farm. They are preserved by freezing or drying;  or processed for a diversity of products. Think about it: peanut oil, vegetarian sausages, refried beans, chilli con carne, roasted pulses as snacks, etc.






Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Legume Cropping
    • Taxonomy of legumes
    • Brief history of legume use
    • Significance of Legume Crops
    • Food plants for people
    • Food plants for animals
    • Soil improvers
    • Amenity plants
    • Industrial crops
    • Weeds
    • Legume cover crops
    • Inoculation of Legumes
    • Legumes today
    • Shade & Salt Tolerant Cover Crops
  2. Peas
    • Introduction
    • Cultivars
    • Snap Peas
    • Green Peas
    • Appearance
    • Cultivation
    • Climate
    • Soil and Fertility
    • Land and Seed Bed Preparation
    • Planting Material
    • Inoculation
    • Plant Spacing
    • Trellising
    • Nutrient Management
    • Irrigation
    • Weed Control
    • Harvesting
  3. Growing Beans
    • Introduction
    • Common Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) -Classification, Growing Conditions, Climate, Soil, Planting, Irrigation, Nutrition, Weeds, Pest and Disease
    • Management
    • Varieties – bush, climbing
    • Harvesting
    • Storage
    • Runner Beans (Phaseolus coccineus) - Growing Conditions, Climate, Soil, Planting, Irrigation, Nutrition, Weeds, Pest and Disease, Varieties
    • Lima Beans (Phaseolus lunatus) – Growing Conditions, Planting, Harvesting, Varieties.
    • Broad Bean (Vicia faba)- Growing Conditions, Soil, Planting, Irrigation, Nutrition, Weeds, Harvesting, Crop Rotation, Pest and Disease, Varieties
    • Hyacinth Bean (Lablab purpureus) - Growing Conditions, Climate, Planting, Irrigation, Nutrition, Weeds, Pest and Disease, Varieties
    • Snake Bean (Vigna unguiculate ssp sesquipedalis) - Growing Conditions, Climate, Planting, Irrigation, Nutrition, Weeds, Pest and Disease
    • Mung Bean (Vigna radiata) Growing Conditions, Climate, Soil, Land preparation, Sowing, Planting, Irrigation, Nutrition, Weeds, Harvesting, Drying, Storage, IPM, Pest and Disease, Land Management
  4. Growing Lentils
    • Introduction
    • Planting Lentils
    • How to Plant
    • Soil, Watering and Fertiliser
    • Nurturing the Plants
    • Diseases
    • Pests
    • Harvesting
  5. Growing Lupins
    • Introduction
    • Lupin plant structure -leaves, stem, branches, roots, flower, pod, seed
    • Lupin Growing Cycle -germination phases
    • Benefits of Lupin Crops
    • Factors affecting Lupin Growth
    • Seed Quality
    • Sowing Lupins
    • Pod Growth
    • Harvesting
    • Sources for seed growth
    • Factors Affecting Seed Development – moisture, temperature
    • Fertilisers
    • Pests
  6. Growing Alfalfa
    • Introduction
    • How to grow alfalfa at home
    • Lucerne Cropping
    • Soil type
    • Fertility Management
    • Plant Variety
    • Planting Crops
    • Seeding Depth
    • Crop Management
    • Irrigation
    • Disease and Insect Management
    • Harvesting Lucerne
  7. Soybeans
    • Introduction
    • Planting Soybean Crops
    • Modern Farming Practices (eg. Zero tilling)
    • Soil Management
    • Variety Selection
    • Planting Soybeans
    • Plant Growth and Physiology
    • Nutrition and Fertiliser
    • Nutritional Deficiency
    • Weed Control
    • Pest Control
    • Harvesting Soybeans
  8. Growing Chickpeas
    • Introduction
    • Crop Preparation
    • Weed Control
    • Soil Preparation
    • Soil Moisture
    • Diseases
    • Chickpea Varieties -Desi Type, Kabuli Type
    • Planting Chickpeas
    • Plant Growth and Physiology
    • Nutrition and Fertiliser
    • Harvest
  9. Other Legumes
    • Peanut
    • Inga (Ice Cream Bean)
    • Tamarind
    • Carob
    • Acacia (Wattle seed)
    • Clovers and Annual Medics
    • Growing Clovers
    • Clover Species
    • Medics
  10. Processing and Using Legumes
    • Introduction
    • Storage Planning
    • Silo Options
    • Grain Storage Bags
    • Bunkers
    • Underground Pits
    • Calculating Costs
    • Variable Costs of On Farm Storage
    • Aeration Cooling
    • Repairs and Maintenance
    • Time & Labour
    • ROI Investment Analysis
    • Safety
    • Grain Storage and Insect Management
    • Storing Lentils
    • Storing Soybeans
    • Storing Chickpeas
    • Storing Peanuts
    • Storing Faba Beans
    • Storing Field Peas

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Discuss commercial farming of Legumes
  • Explain different types of pea crops
  • Explain how to grow beans
  • Explain how to grow edible lupins
  • Explain how to grow an alfalfa crop
  • Explain the importance and growing of soybean crops
  • Explain the cultivation of chickpea crops
  • Explain how to grow a range of other legume food crops
  • Explain how legume crops are processed and used

What You Will Do

  • Research Legumes and products derived from legumes that are commonly available in your area.
  • Watch videos on legume crops.
  • Interview a close contact about whether they consume legumes, which ones and why.
  • Take notes and develop your understanding of the nutritional benefits of legumes.
  • Select two micronutrients and research how they affect health of pea crops. Look for information on how peas react to deficiency and over application of these nutrients.
  • Research how to sprout peas, sprout some peas and incorporate them into your meals.
  • Observe and take note of your sprouting project.
  • Research the significance of peas as an agricultural crop in your country.
  • Research the difference between peas selected for different types of processing, e.g. fresh, canned, frozen, or dried/dehydrated online.
  • Interview someone who has grown beans.
  • Watch videos of combine harvesters harvesting beans online and take notes.
  • Prepare lentils to eat.
  • Watch videos online of lentil growth and take notes.
  • Watch videos about lentil growing and sustainability online.
  • Pay attention to material on soil health and sustainability, and harvest. Make sure you take notes as you watch.
  • Research the importance of lupins as a feed crop for livestock.
  • Spend some time reading about interplanting lucerne with other crops.
  • Select two of the diseases affecting lucerne and undertake further research on these two diseases
  • Contact soybean suppliers online in your country.
  • Look for soybean suppliers online in your country.
    • Compare the different varieties available online.
  • Explore the different types of chickpeas available in the local markets and grocery stores near your home.
  • Use chickpeas to make a recipe that you have not tried. Consider making hummus, a power bowl, roasted chickpeas or a dhal.
  • Look up agricultural feed suppliers online and examine their clover supplies
  • Research methods that are used to harvest peanut crops.
  • Research silo options online


Legumes are some of the most important agronomic crops grown across the world. They are consumed in soups, stews, savoury pies, salads, sauces, and spreads, or as side dishes of vegetables. Fresh legumes like peas, beans, chickpeas, kidney beans and soybeans should be soaked in water, typically for about 12 hours, before cooking to remove toxins. A few types of green pea like sugar snaps can be eaten raw. Although many beans and peas are harvested when not quite ripe and eaten fresh, others are harvested when ripe and then dried before consuming. 

Legumes are also often sprouted and eaten as microgreens. Microgreens are the shoots of young vegetable plants eaten soon after the first leaves have begun developing on a going plant. The food stored in the seed will be sufficient to cause germination when moisture and temperature conditions are appropriate. This allows a sprout to be produced in the absence of soil on a clean surface such as a well-drained tray. Legume sprouts are a highly nutritious raw food, popular in salads, stir fries and other foods. 

Legumes are high in protein which makes them ideal in vegetarian diets which are often low in protein due to the absence of meat. They can be fashioned into artificial meats or ground into flours for cooking. They can also be eaten as dried seeds for healthy snacks. Legumes are also high in fibre and the carbohydrates in them digest slowly making people feel fuller for longer after eating them. They help to lower blood pressure and can guard against the risk of diabetes.
Since legumes do not deplete the soil of nitrogen, unlike other crops, they are popular in organic farming. Legumes can be grown as forage for animals where they can be short lived annuals in pastures through to shrubs and trees. Some must be avoided due to their toxins, and some have spines which make them unsuitable. When grown as forage for animals, these crops provide soil stabilisation and protect against erosion. Although legumes have been foraged by animals in natural landscapes for millennia, it is only relatively recently that they have been cultivated as forage for animals.

Often forage legumes are chopped into fodder for animals. This may be the waste product of legumes grown to harvest the grains for human consumption, or it may be crops grown as cover crops or specifically for animal feed. These legumes may be chopped up then dried and pelletised or fed to animals like hay. Sometimes they are fermented in silage and use as animal feed. 



Learn more about the legumes you know and discover ones you might know little about.

You might study this to apply in your work, as a farmer or someone working elsewhere in the food industry. 

You may simply have a passion or maybe an academic interest in legumes.

Whether growing legumes for your own use, or as a marketable crop, or just advising others (eg. as a consultant, writer, broadcaster, teacher) - this course does far more than just serve up information about different legumes. It will provide a carefully crafted learning journey that helps you understand and remember the things that matter most, so that you are better equipped whenever dealing with legumes in the future.


Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
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ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
ACS is a Member of the Permaculture Association (membership number 14088).
ACS is a Member of the Permaculture Association (membership number 14088).
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ACS is a Silver Sponsor of the AIH; and students studying designated courses are given free student membership. ACS and it's principal have had an association with AIH since the 1980's
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Long-term member since 1986.
ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.
ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.
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UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

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