Agronomy IV - Arable Farming Legumes

Course CodeBAG311
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to Grow Different Legume Crops


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
    • 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. 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. Lentils
    • Planting Lentils
    • How to Plant
    • Soil, Watering and Fertiliser
    • Nurturing the Plants
    • Diseases
    • Pests
    • Harvesting
  5. 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. 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

Why study Legumes?

Different people will study legumes for different reasons, but all because these are significant plants to them. Legumes are a diverse and large group of plants that are significant in many ways including:

Food plants for people
The most widely recognised legumes are probably different types of beans like soybeans, kidney beans, black beans, and borlotti beans. In fact, the legume family is also known as the ‘bean family’. But legumes also include lentils, peas, and peanuts. These are all types of grain legume. The early civilisations worked out that beans and many other legumes needed to be soaked, cooked, fermented, or sprouted to make them edible to soften the tough, fibrous coating. Also, some need to have toxins removed before they can be safely eaten.

Food plants for animals
legumes are grown as forage for farm animals, in permaculture systems, organic gardening, and so forth. Here they may be divided into two broad groups. Firstly, there are those grown as pasture crops for grazing by livestock. These include clover, alfalfa (Lucerne), and vetches. Secondly, there are those grown as woody shrubs or trees. These may be foraged by livestock, or they may be chopped up and fed to animals as fodder.

Soil improvers 
Legume’s ability to fix nitrogen and add it back to the soil is well-known. Not only does this lower the need for fertiliser but it makes these plants useful in crop rotation systems and can be dug back into the soil as green manure. When grown as cover crops, legumes also protect the soil from erosion.

Amenity plants
Many species of Fabaceae have functional and aesthetic value in gardens, parks, and urban landscapes. Many of these are shrubs and trees like Acacia, Gleditsia, Mimosa, and Laburnum. Others, such as Lupins, are grown for their attractive flowers. 

Industrial crops
Many legumes also have industrial uses. For example, gum Arabic comes from Acacia species, and the insecticide ingredient known as rotenone comes from Derris plants. Many useful industrial dyes can be derived Fabaceae such as blue dyes from Indigofera species. Others make good quality timber such as Castanospermum australe and some Acacias.

Whilst Fabaceae include some of the most highly prized agricultural and horticultural plants in the world, like all plant families some species can become invasive weeds in some places. For example, tree lucerne or tagasaste (Chamaecytisus palmensis) has invaded bushland in Australia, and Sesbania punicea (red sesbania) has become a serious weed in South Africa.

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