Drought across much of the Prairies has caused pulse crops to become, for lack of a better term, “stagey.” Knowing how to stage a crop for, say, desiccation timing can be particularly tricky during such adverse growing conditions.

In this Pulse School episode, Nevin Rosaasen, sustainability and government relations, Alberta Pulse Growers Association (APG), outlines the guidelines for dealing with a tricky-to-stage pulse crop.

“In Southern Alberta a lot of the pea and lentil harvest is already complete. Certainly we’ve had reports of very low yields in lentils, some 5 bu/ac, peas too, between 10 and 15 on a lot of fields here in Southern Alberta,” says Rosaasen. “Currently, I’m standing in a dry bean field, under irrigation, different story, where dry bean production looks like it’ll be on par for average yields.”

Rosaasen says that heading north in the province he’s seen a lot of issues with pea fields having secondary growth, which is causing multiple stages. Some farmers are reporting green pods up top, and ripe pods further down in the canopy, especially in depression areas of the field, presenting a challenge for staging.

In that situation, if desiccant or a pre-harvest aid is going to be used, Rosaasen says it’s important to ensure that every part of the field is below 30 per cent moisture content. The Keep It Clean website has staging guides, to help farmers reduce the risk of exceeding maximum residue limits.

With a pulse crop like faba beans, which are indeterminate, they’ll continue to flower right into September, there’s still time to make a good informed decision on a desiccation or pre-harvest weed control product, says Rosaasen.

Another issue that Rosaasen has been hearing about is cracked peas, even prior to harvest. Between five and ten per cent seed coat cracks can be submitted during harvest, but this year Rosaasen’s been hearing of upwards of 15 to 20 per cent, which is something APG hasn’t seen before. Gentle handling and being aware of seed condition while harvesting, can help mitigate more cracking.

Rosaasen reiterates that there a few reasons not to exceed a maximum residue limit. If the seed isn’t below 30 per cent moisture and a desiccant or pre-harvest aid is applied, some of it can be translocated into seed while it’s filling or finishing, causing residue to be exceeded in seed, beyond international trade limits.

Check out the full Pulse School video, below:

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