It's time to update your pulse variety

If your go-to pulse variety is more than five or six years old, it’s time to consider trying a new line.

When you look at the provincial mix for Saskatchewan, some of the most-seeded lines are five, 10, or even 12 years old, says Laurie Friesen with the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers.

That means that all the hard work breeders have put into improving new lines isn’t being fully taken advantage of at the farm level. From better agronomics to herbicide resistance, to quality, and even yield stability, new lines have plenty to offer; but farmers aren’t picking up the varieties as quickly as say other industries, such as canola or corn.

Friesen understands that farmers put so much on the line each year, and trying a new variety is an unknown and therefore a risk, but there is data available to back up each selection. Of course, she also doesn’t expect farmers to fully swap out their favourites all at once — data from small plot field trails can be tricky to replicate at field-scale, so start small and see how a new variety performs under your farm management.

When combing through the plot data available in the provincial seed guide, Friesen says it’s important to look at where a variety is tested so as to best gauge suitability for your region, and to pay attention to the range in performance of a given variety. Some lines have exceptional stability in their performance across areas and years, she says.

Listen for more on making the leap to a new pulse variety, here: 

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