RealAg LIVE! with Sherrilyn Phelps on prepping for a successful pulse season


Knowing what diseases might be lurking on your seed or in the soil, knowing what your herbicide history is, and exactly why inoculants are cheap insurance, will set you up for a successful pulse growing season.

For today’s RealAg LIVE! host Kara Oosterhuis is joined by Sherrilyn Phelps, agronomy manager at Saskatchewan Pulse Growers.

RealAg LIVE! streams every weekday at 3 pm E on Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter!


  • Double check your herbicide history
  • Get your seed lots tested for diseases so you can determine what seed treatment to use
  • Figure out your seeding rate! Know the seed size so you can calculate seeding rate according to optimum plant density
  • Seed-borne diseases: ascochyta, botrytis, anthracnose. Soil-borne diseases: Fusarium, rhizoctonia, aphanomyces
  • Have your inoculant ready to go! Remember that they’re alive, they’re a living organism so they need different care
  • Two components to residual herbicides: when you go to recrop, residual carryover, and using herbicides that have residual properties that will help
  • Factors that affect break-down of residual herbicides or herbicides: warmth, moisture, microbial activity
  • Considering dry conditions, should moisture be chased and pulses seeded deep? How deep is too deep?
  • Seeding rates! Hit that target population, pulses don’t get larger and fill space if there’s not enough of them there
  • Pulses are poor competitors with weeds too. Critical weed free period. For both moisture nutrients
  • Phosphorus is important for protein and N-fixation. It’s not as low-input of a crop as we think
  • Wet conditions. The A word. Aphanomyces can’t be treated with a fungicide. It’s soil-borne and affects roots and fungicides just won’t get down there. Seed treatments also don’t control it, there are only two that suppress it
  • Not just aphanomyces to consider though: fusarium, pythium
  • Faba beans are resistant to aphanomyces and they like wetter soils so they’re a great alternative!
  • There is some breeding making headway on the aphanomyces front for peas, but not for lentils
  • Research: adding in other crops like canola (glucosinolates) or oats into the rotation
  • Over the last seven years there’s been annual surveys for root rots and aphanomyces in soil
  • Aphanomyces is widely distributed across soil zones, there aren’t really any hotspots
  • Ascochyta species for different pulse crops are different races. It typically comes in just before the reproductive period
  • Inoculants. There could be background levels of rhizobia species in your fields, especially if you’ve grown pulses before, but they aren’t necessarily going to effectively fix nitrogen. It’s cheap insurance
  • Soybean: Bradyrhizobium japonicum is the specific species that will symbiotically fix N
  • How about inoculant formulation? Granular, liquid, or peat?
  • Spore load levels for aphanomyces? Still set at about 100 oospores per gram of soil. Dr. Syama Chatterton is working on this. Add fusarium into the mix and the problem compounds
  • Fenugreek! It’s a spice and a legume!
  • Any insects on the radar for this year? Pea leaf weevil, aphids on faba beans?

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