The cultivation of lupin is gradually finding its way into the Netherlands. In 2012 about 75 hectares of lupin were grown, 25 hectares of which were for human consumption. In the project Lupin in the Dutch Peat District (2011-2013) the Louis Bolk Institute, the Dutch Arable Farming Union (NAV) and food consultancy MFH Pulses work together to optimize lupin cultivation methods for this area. The project takes place in the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe, and is funded by the governments of these provinces, as well as by agricultural innovation networks (InnovatieNetwerk, Kiemkracht), the Product Board for Arable Farming (PA) and the European Agricultural Fund.
Research and product development for Lupin
Lupin is a more risky crop than for example wheat, because it is more prone to diseases and game damage. Therefore research focuses on improving disease resistance , yield and quality, particularly for the lime-deficient soils of the peat district. Compared to other protein rich crops, lupin has a number of advantages: it is a good alternative for imported and genetically modified soy; it fixes at least 150 kg nitrogen from the atmosphere per year; it increases agrobiodiversity; and it has a small CO2 footprint thanks to its low fertilizer requirements.
Growing demand for lupin
The demand for vegetable protein, and thus for protein-rich crops such as lupin, is increasing. Lupin is added to vegetarian snacks, bread, biscuits and meat substitutes. Lupin bread and lupin vegetarian meatballs are already on the market. Furthermore, livestock farmers grow lupin for forage. Bringing together lupin supply and demand is also part of the project.
Wanted: new lupin growers
The project continues with field trials in 2013. If you would like to participate as a grower, or be kept informed about the project results, please contact our project leader Udo Prins (top right on this page).