Fall weed control, long rotations, and mystery maladies — a pulse crop Q&A LIVE! with Sherrilyn Phelps


From the dreaded aphanomyces (hard to say, harder to control), to the potential of soybeans, fall weed control options, and on to delicious sounding diseases of fabas, Sherrilyn Phelps, agronomy lead for Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, has so much to cover in this week’s RealAg LIVE! segment.

Host Shaun Haney and Phelps also discuss some of the reasons why pulse crops are unique, why harvest management needs careful attention, and why it’s key to cool those seeds once in the bin.

Don’t miss the RealAg LIVE! segment most Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday afternoons at 1 pm Mountain/3 pm Eastern on your favourite social media platform — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Twitch!


  • Much of the pulse crops are off in Saskatchewan, but the later maturing and later seeded crops are still out
  • Summer heat did bite into yield for sure, but we had good harvest weather, and that’s a big plus
  • There was good moisture in July and the heat slowed disease progression
  • Big biomass is often a negative, especially with lentils, and was a real concern in August
  • Did see some levels of anthracnose in lentils, but the heat did shut them down and seemed to cut the disease pressure
  • Pulses need stress to shut down, which is weird. They are an indeterminate crop — they need stress to really push them in to seed set
  • Breeding has been focused on shorter season, more determinate aspects
  • It’s part of why irrigation isn’t necessarily a plus for pulses
  • Faba bean diseases? We expected to see more chocolate spot (botrytis), but instead saw a lot of stemphylium blight (a fungus), which is somewhat unusual. Phelps says we still don’t really know the full impact on yield and quality because of this disease. But chocolate spot did move in later in the year, but not a high disease year. Fabas did seem to shut down quite quickly likely because of the hot, dry weather, not because of disease pressure
  • Are diseases growing with acres/more fabas? We’re learning to link symptoms to disease incidence, so partially, it’s learning what you’re looking for
  • Frost earlier this week — what’s the impact? The longer maturity, later seeded crops could see some damage. Plenty of chickpea, soys, fabas, edible beans are still out and varying maturities, and -9 is going to cause damage, especially anything with moisture
  • Soybeans are anywhere from green to quite mature
  • Soybeans were going to be all the rage: where are we at with soybean acres for Saskatchewan? The shine has definitely worn off, but need those shorter maturities and higher yields. Soybeans are still to here to stay, but it will take time to build acres back up
  • Soybeans offer an advantage when it comes to aphanomyces, so they are attractive from that point. But they need August moisture, and with heat.
  • What about aphanomyces? Alone is bad enough, in combination with fusarium root rots, and boom, goes the dynamite
  • There’s still so much we’re learning about the disease, treatments, rotation, cover crop impacts (mustard, oats)
  • Planning for 2020! Test your soil for aphanomyces, plan your rotation — you might need 6,8, or even 10 years between peas or lentils in rotation
  • Get your fall weed control done. Pulses aren’t hugely competitive and we’re limited with in-crop options
  • Harvest management. In fabas, they’re drying off quickly, do you even need a harvest aid?  You need 30% moisture or less, remember. Glyphosate, diquat (Reglone), and Heat, are all registered
  • Get pulses off the field — gently! — and then get them cooled down, run some air through them if need be. Cold pulses are good pulses
  • Mystery disease in chickpeas — is it really a disease, or is it a combination of environmental issues, nutrient stress, with a pathogen? Still working on the most likely culprit.

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