New genetics are expected to help dry bean growers fight back against common bacterial blight — the number one foliar disease in beans in Western Canada.
Annual dry bean field surveys in Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan show common bacterial blight “is usually quite severe and widespread,” explains Bob Conner, pulse crop pathologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), based in Morden, Manitoba.
Around 12 years ago AAFC researchers in Morden; Harrow, Ontario; and Lethbridge, Alberta started back-crossing resistance into high-yielding lines. The first few of those navy and pinto varieties have recently crossed the finish line, receiving registration for commercial production.
“We’re just starting to see the registration of varieties that carry a high level of resistance to common bacterial blight,” says Conner, noting two navy bean varieties and one black bean variety from AAFC have been registered.
Field studies show common bacterial blight can reduce yields in susceptible varieties by up to 36 percent, while yield losses in the new resistant varieties were reduced to less than 17 percent, with some varieties showing no losses, he says.
“It should mean that common bacterial blight will have a lot less impact than it has in the past.”
Conner discusses the significant advances made in resistance to bacterial blight and the durability of these new genetics: