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Pulse Crop Update

By: Dale Risula, P.Ag., Provincial Specialist, Special Crops.

Most crops in Saskatchewan got off to an early start this spring. After a dry start, many areas have received frequent rains, leading to excess moisture and some early-season issues in pea and lentil crops.

Both peas and lentils do not like having wet feet for prolonged periods of time. This, combined with favourable conditions for disease, has resulted in the development of root rot diseases. Root rot in peas and lentils is often caused by a complex of organisms including Aphanomyces euteiches, Fusarium, Pythium and Rhizoctonia. Though root rot cannot be cured, knowing the identity of the causal organism(s) may indicate what management strategy will be most effective in preventing yield losses in subsequent years.

Samples will be collected from pulse crops throughout the province this summer as part of a province-wide root rot survey conducted by the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, with assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture. In addition to root rot, many growers have reported yellowing symptoms in pulse crops early in the season. In many cases, this was found to be due to low levels of nitrogen (N) prior to the development of nodules and nitrogen fixation by the rhizobium bacteria. This can be remedied through soil testing and application of starter N when N reserves are below 30 lbs/acre. This will provide the fast-growing seedlings N to sustain growth early in the season prior to nodule formation.

Off-label pesticide application can result in crop damage, but may also negatively affect the marketability of the crop after harvest. Maximum residue limits (MRLs) are established for every pest control product that is registered in Canada. Off-label application and the failure to adhere to pre-harvest intervals may result in higher-than-acceptable residue limits. To maintain the marketability of your harvested grain, it is important to talk to your grain buyer prior to applying a newly registered pest control product or a pest control product with a new crop added to the label.

Just because the MRL is established in Canada, there is no guarantee that there is an established MRL for that crop in all importing countries. Talking to your grain buyer prior to application will help to identify market access concerns and ensure that you will be able to sell your harvested crop at the end of the season. More information about MRLs and concerns associated with specific active ingredients can be found at www.keepingitclean.ca.

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