PR – Economic And Environmental Assessment Of Pulse Rotations In Canadian Prairies
As consumers regard for corporate responsibility increases, governments, industries and organizations have begun to assess the sustainability of their activities. Sustainability has many criteria, and those related to environmental impacts and economic effects are of interest to policy makers. Pulse (dry peas) crop production is on the rise in Saskatchewan. Although exports of peas to other countries are important from a local development perspective, their use for local activities has some appeal. In this paper, a combined life cycle assessment (LCA) and economic impact analysis (EIA) of growing peas or lentils in a four-year rotation was undertaken and compared to a rotation without pulse crops (i.e. an oilseed-cereal rotation). Inclusion of peas in a rotation is desirable as it is known to break disease and pest cycles, as well as fix atmospheric nitrogen through symbiotic association with Rhizobia. This results in decreased requirements of fertilizer, pesticide and insecticide application. These changes resulted in major financial implications for the producers, as the economic returns increased by $131 to $158 per ha for the pulse rotation over the baseline rotation. The LCA results demonstrated lower environmental impacts in all categories with the pea or lentils rotations as compared to the oilseed-cereal rotation. The results of the study suggest that adding dry peas and /or lentils in oilseed-cereal rotations improve the sustainability of crop production systems.
Keywords: life cycle assessment, economic assessment, pulses, Canadian Prairies, rotations