The importance of field selection and soil testing ahead of peas and lentils

Crop planning is well underway in the Prairies, and you may be in the middle of choosing what crop will go where. Of course, there are many things to consider, but looking at your soils is a large part — especially if you are growing pulses.

Nevin Rosaasen, policy and program specialist with Alberta Pulse Growers, says that for 2020, there are three main diseases you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for: white mould (sclerotinia in canola), aphanomyces, and acochyta mycosphaerella blight. When it comes to root rots, Rosaasen says that field selection is key.

“With both peas and lentils, neither of the crops like wet feet. So if you do have peas that are in low lying areas that are prone to flooding, etc, that’s definitely a concern,” he explains in the interview below. “Well-drained clay-loam or sandy-loam soils are probably the most suitable for peas.” (Story continues after video)

Aphanomyces is a specific root rot complex that can only be found through a soil test. Although there are seed treatments that are available for different root rots, aphanomyces life cycle makes it difficult to get full control with a product.

“You can test if you have spores in your soil. And that sample can be sent away to one of the soil labs here in Alberta,” Rosaasen says. “In the case of aphanomyces we do have the registration of one product, but the length of efficacy is such that when you do see the symptoms in later season, you no longer have a systemic suppression of aphanomyces.”

Rosaasen also notes in the interview below, that Alberta Pulse Growers is currently working on a combined project with Pulse Canada on a grower survey in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, to give a life-cycle analysis of pulses.

“This survey will generate data and information for end-users, processors, and large multi-nationals. Many of them have demands from their consumers to understand what the impact of their food choices has on the environment. So a life cycle analysis is a way to account for all of those energy inputs that are used in the production of peas and lentils. And at this time we are hoping to collect enough data so that we have regionalized data.”

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