Pulse School: A look at how pulses are faring in dry conditions

Mother Nature has given the prairies many different crop conditions this year, and Saskatchewan is no exception to this rule.

For the most part, Saskatchewan pulse growers are seeing very dry conditions, although this has helped keep disease levels down, notes Sherrilyn Phelps, agronomy specialist with Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, in this latest Pulse School episode.

“You know the pathogens are there from previous years, but you need the environment in order for it to be effective,” explains Phelps.  “We have seen a little bit of disease but some of that has been more related to seed borne diseases that you know were showing up at the seedling stage. Other than that there hasn’t been too much. We’re starting to see some chocolate spot in the faba beans, but that’s one crop that’s usually grown in the more moist areas of the province which is more in the north where there is better moisture.”

As far as insects go, pea aphids are currently an issue in some areas.

“We’re tending to get quite a few calls on pea aphids in both peas and lentils, and aphids are a sucking insect so they are sucking the sap out of the plant. So areas that are under moisture stress already – anything thats sucking the saps out can really effect the yields if its not too late in the season,” says Phelps.

As we get closer to harvest, scouting should still be part of your routine, especially with insect pests, she notes.

“Because things like ladybugs will eat a lot of aphids in a day and will help keep those aphid populations under control. So it’s very important to not just monitor one day, but monitor it over a number of days and see if they are being held constant, or if they are increasing, or even decreasing,” she explains. “Sometimes with the beneficials you will get a lag between when the insect population is increasing, and then beneficial needs to increase as well so you get a bit of a lag in terms of that. So it’s very important to go out and scout your fields before applying insecticides.”

Combines have started to roll in some pulse fields in southern Alberta, and Phelps says there are reports in southern Saskatchewan that desiccation could begin within the next week.

For more of a look at pulse crop conditions across the province, check out our Pulse School video filmed at Ag in Motion (June 18-20, 2017) in Langham, Saskatchewan:

Related: Pulse School: Making the Call on Pea Aphids

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