Disease pressure climbs as high moisture covers pulse acres

Saskatchewan has received a lot of moisture in most parts of the province this year, and with that comes a concern for diseases.

Root rots have definitely shown up in peas and lentils and anthracnose in lentils is a concern this year, too. “One thing with lentils, too, when you get a lot of that biomass produced, they can look really good right now, but then you do have a risk of botrytis coming in,” says Sherrilyn Phelps, agronomy manager with Saskatchewan Pulse Growers.

There are some issues with ascochyta in chickpeas, particularly in the south of the province, but there is also some unusual symptoms showing up for which the cause has yet to be identified. Researchers got involved since last year, but never could figure out what the initial cause, or combination of causes were. A lab in Ontario is going to run diagnostics this year on samples and will hopefully be able to help determine what it is, says Phelps.

It has been a cool year, and some oncoming heat in the forecast will help the soybeans and dry beans, but excess heat could cause flower blasting in field pea, lentil, chickpea, and faba bean. Warmer temperatures may help dry up the wet patches and might assist with those root rots. “Overall, the heat would be welcome,” says Phelps.

When looking for disease in pulse crops, Phelps suggests walking into the field at midday, and if your boots are still wet, you likely have a breeding ground for disease. Fungicides are best as a preventative control in this situation and it’s important to stay on top of fungicide rotations, but also to know when to stop.

Some lentils and peas are well into podding stage down south, says Phelps, so harvest may be within three weeks to a month for some of the earlier seeded crops.

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