Pulse School: 4 field selection considerations for next spring

“There’s lots of things to consider when you’re thinking about growing pulses, and the very first thing that comes to mind is rotations.”

Sherrilyn Phelps, agronomy manager with the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, joins us for this Pulse School, where she identifies a few of the key factors to consider when selecting a field for pulses.

Fields with no root rot problems should be out of peas or lentils for four years before going back into those crops, she says.

“If there has been problems with aphanomyces, then you want to look for fields that have been out of either peas or lentils for six to eight years. And I know that seems like a long time, but we’re seeing the benefits of those longer yields for maximizing yield.”

Phelps says other things to consider include the field’s:

  • Herbicide history – Ensure there are no residual herbicides that could impact pulse crops;
  • Cropping history – consider rotation, but also what the pulse is going to follow. “With cereals, you have the benefit of the mycorrhizal associations, and as well a break in disease cycles such as sclerotinia. With oilseeds, you don’t have as much of the fusarium issues that carryover…but the drawback with growing on canola stubble is, of course, volunteer canola that you do have to manage.”
  • Weeds – There are limited options when it comes to weed control. Phelps says producers can either do some fall clean-up, pick a field that’s cleaner, and/or consider the use of pre-emergent herbicides in the fall.
  • Soil characteristics – Consider fields that are a little lighter, allowing for better drainage.

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