Resistance Management School: Scouting and rotation key to maintaining effective pulse fungicides

Fungicides play a key role in helping manage disease in pulse crops across the Prairies. But growers need to be vigilant to prevent fungicide resistance and ensure they have the tools required to fight yield-robbing diseases, says Alberta Agriculture and Forestry pulse research scientist Robyne Bowness Davidson.

On this episode of RealAgriculture’s Resistance Management School, Bowness Davidson notes that fungicide resistance was initially diagnosed in chickpeas and has also been identified in field peas. When it comes to managing fungicide resistance, she notes that the effectiveness of strobilurin fungicides (Group 11) is of primary concern.

Strobilurins have been relied on heavily because of their effectiveness. To maintain the efficacy of this Group 11 option, as well as other fungicides, Bowness Davidson recommends a series of best management practices.

It all starts with scouting. Bowness Davidson says it’s important to properly identify diseases in the field. Keeping an eye on fungicide performance is also key — if a product is not offering the same level of control as it has in the past, you may have disease resistance in the field. She notes that resistance will typically show up sporadically in the beginning, and not be present throughout the entire field.

The best preventative practice is still rotation, says Bowness Davidson. That includes adding different crops to break the disease cycle as well as rotating fungicide modes of action. She touts the benefits of working with certified seed to enhance crop vigour and plant health. (Story continues after the video.)

It’s also important to use fungicides only as necessary, says Bowness Davidson. Keeping an eye on the weather to determine when fungicides will be most effective is strongly recommended. In a dry year, for example, disease levels are typically low and a fungicide application may not be necessary.

But in a year like 2019, where huge areas across the Prairies were very wet, fungicides can play a key role in protecting crops. Under these conditions, “it becomes more important to know what diseases are in your field and use fungicides properly,” says Bowness Davidson.

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