Co-Innovation Case Study (CICS) #10 is composed of a group of 15 farmers in the Anjou region: all of them are in organic farming and some are members of a CUMA (Cooperative for the Use of Agricultural Equipment). Their shared long-term objective is to integrate legumes, and lentils in particular, into their cropping systems, with a view to market them to local collective catering. Contacts have already been established with two organizations, and a study has been carried out to quantify the volumes needed to supply them.

Picture above: Laurent Bedoussac (ENSFEA-INRAe AGIR) meets with farmers to discuss the advantages and limitations of species mixtures

In 2023, farmers set up their first trials of lentils mixed with different species (rye, barley, flax, wheat, camelina) and sowing (density and structure). Laurent Bedoussac (ENSFEA-INRAe AGIR) spoke to farmers to explain the advantages and limitations of species mixtures and the crop management design process (photo above). A field tour of six farms was organized to discuss the crop management implemented (photos below) with a lentil-camelina-flax mixture sown in April and a lentil-rye mixture sown in December.

Picture above: field tour with lentil-camelina-flax mixture sown in April.

At the end of the 2023 campaign, data on crop management were collected, as well as yields and an assessment of bruchid damage (given that this insect pest can cause yield losses of over 90% on lentils). These results will be used as input for a co-design workshop to design mixed lentil crop management for the 2024 campaign, to expand the group of farmers and also to integrate the harvest process (freezing and CO2 asphyxiation) altogether with sorting. Concerning the latter, farmers would like to invest in an optical sorter to complement the range of available tools (rotary sorter, alveolar sorter and densiometric table), which could be supported by an existing CUMA.

Picture above: field tour with a lentil-rye mixture sown in December.

This article was written by Annabelle Revel (FNCUMA), also the author of the pictures.