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Growing Pulse Crops Podcast Launches Season 2 (05/13/21)

The Growing Pulse Crops podcast series is entering into its second season, with six episodes so far and new episodes being released every other week.

The Growing Pulse Crops podcast series is entering into its second season, with six episodes so far and new episodes being released every other week. The series aims to highlight the farmers, researchers and industry leaders who are working towards building more productive and resilient pulse cropping systems.

On the most recent episode, farmer Tony Wagner discusses how he uses peas and a subsequent cover crop to build soil health on his farm.  For the past 15 years, Tony Wagner has been on a journey to improve the soil health of his farmland, which runs the gamut from sandy to high clay. Tony shares how he got into growing peas, why he’s stuck with them, and how they fit into building soil health. Tony got into cover cropping via an attempt to grow two crops of peas in the same field, in the same season. While the second crop succumbed to unexpected weather conditions, he was impressed with the benefit to the soil.

“The next year we put spring wheat on that ground and we pulled off on that type of soil, which is a very light soil, probably the best wheat that we've ever pulled off. And we did a soil test on it and the nitrogen was pretty high on that soil. So we decided to slowly start working into cover crops.” - Tony Wagner

Tony has continued to experiment with cover crops, including use of different varieties to see what provides the most benefit to his operation. Along with nitrogen benefits, he has observed much less wind and water erosion, improvement in areas of high salinity and better water infiltration.

Tony has recently begun incorporating flax as a companion crop in with his field peas. He chose flax as the pre-emergence herbicides used are the same as field peas. The flax companion crop helped the peas stay upright, while the monocrop peas were lodged. While the growing conditions led to delayed harvest due to late maturing flax, Tony says he would like to attempt this trial again with different varieties going forward to see if the maturity timing can be better coordinated.

To listen to the full episode, along with season one and the rest of season two, visit the website or search for Growing Pulse Crops on your smartphone podcast app.

The podcast series is hosted by Tim Hammerich, who also hosts the Future of Ag and Soil Sense podcasts.  Growing Pulse Crops is produced by North Dakota State University plant pathologist Dr. Audrey Kalil and the North Central IPM Center Pulse Crops Working Group with funding from the North Central IPM Center and the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council. Visit to learn more about the group.

For more information about the podcast, contact Dr. Kalil at 701-774-4315 or



Audrey Kalil

Plant Pathologist

NDSU Williston Research Extension Center

This site is supported in part by the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program [grant no. 2017-70006-27144/accession 1013592] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the website author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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