What are Pulses?

In Australia grain legumes are generally referred to as 'pulses'. The term 'pulse' is derived from the Latin pulse meaning 'seed or grain can be made into a thick soup or pottage'. While both soybean and peanut are leguminous plants they are not regarded as pulses as they are traditionally seen to be oilseed crops (for information on oilseeds see Australian Oilseeds Federation).

The six major pulse groups grown in Australia are chickpea, faba/broad bean, field pea, lentil, lupin and mungbean. In addition, there are a number of smaller and / or niche market crops such as azuki bean, navy bean, cowpea, vetch and pigeon pea. Within these types there are often numerous varieties, many of which have particular characteristics that suit differing markets.

The Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) has produced an excellent overview of the value of pulses in the diet and the role the pulse industry plays in the Australian economy (Australian Grain Note: Pulses) that is perfect for use in assignments or projects.

2016 is International Year of Pulses. To learn more about pulses or to help promote the benefits of these crops and foods, have a look at the resources available on the IYP2016 website, including lesson plans, project information, recipes and more from around the world.

The pulse industry is one of Australian agriculture's success stories. From humble beginnings, Australia is now a major player in the global pulse markets and one of the world's largest exporters of pulses.

Not only does Australia have the climatic diversity to enable it to supply a broad range of pulse products, but Australian growers, marketers, researchers and industry leaders are demonstrating they have the drive, ingenuity and skills to meet any challenge facing the industry.

It is the role of Pulse Australia to facilitate and support all sectors of the Australian pulse industry to meet all challenges in this exciting and developing industry.

The pulse industry's growth is increasingly becoming a key to the future sustainability of the whole Australian grains industry as the strategic importance of pulses within the cereal cropping system in Australia continues to grow. Research has shown that farm systems gain substantial benefit from the increased yield and protein content in cereal and oilseed crops that are planted following pulse crops.

Pulse Australia's strategic planning process helps to ensure that the Australian pulse industry can meet its future challenges and continue to provide the world with the highest quality products of the greatest integrity.

For more information: Australian pulse industry

Using pulses

For humans

For animals

For the environment