Pulse School: Dry Down Decisions — Choosing a Harvest Aid for Faba Beans

By now you’ve watched our video on determining when to desiccate faba beans, and perhaps you’re gearing up to go ahead. Now the all-important next question: what to spray?

Well, according to Robyne Bowness, pulse research scientist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, there are currently only two options for drying-down faba beans: diquat (a desiccant) and glyphosate (a herbicide).

“Both products will work, and they both have kind of a different purpose,” says Bowness. “Reglone would be the product I would recommend if you’re nearing September 10…and you’re afraid the frost is going to come. Reglone works very quickly. It has the potential to take a crop that is very mature and dry it down within 5-7 days.”

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“Roundup definitely has a purpose as well. If you’ve got a field that has a lot of weeds in it, and you’re trying to control them in the fall so you don’t have problems next spring, Roundup, or glyphosate, is a good product  to use as well. Roundup, however, will take at least 2 weeks to dry down.” That’s because glyphosate is not a actually a desiccant, it’s a herbicide. It kills the plant, which then dries down, which is why it takes so long.

Both chemicals come with their pros and cons, from water needed to seed viability. Bowness recommends producers weigh their options carefully, recognizing the purpose of the spray application, the timing and the end use of their crop.

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