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Keeping Up to Date – Agronomy Update 2014 (PCN Spring 2014) MAY 5 2014 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Pulse Crop News.

Agronomy Update was held in Red Deer on January 14 and 15, 2014. Presentations covered topics such as pests, weed control, soil fertility, grain storage, marketing, and new crop options. Together the information presented demonstrated how all of these issues need to be considered and addressed in order to maximize profitability on the farm.

The event kicked off with an update from the scouting team “Tom, Dick and Harry” aka Dale Fedoruk, Dave Corry and Keith Gabert. They discussed what every producer should be mindful of and look for on their land during specific times of the year. This can be done right from crop emergence and can help effectively target areas of weed, insect, and disease infestation.

Dr. Jennifer Otani, AAFC Beaverlodge, provided attendees with a cutworm update. She highlighted Alberta Agriculture’s online reporting tool and explained the role that that has as a data collection tool in the context of a research project focusing on cutworms. This is the second year of a 4-year cutworm research program through the Canola Agronomic Research Program (CARP) that aims to develop better decision-making tools and management practices for agronomists and growers in western Canada. The projects four main objectives are Molecular tools for rapid and accurate identification, cutworm life history and development, natural enemies of cutworms as well as addition of a literature review and extension tools.

Root rot in pulse crops is becoming of increasing concern across Alberta. Dr. Syama Chatterton, a pathologist working for Ag Canada in Lethbridge, is leading an extensive research program. Root rots are a complex soilborne disease that is problematic worldwide. Root rots can attack the crop at various growth stages but is most prevalent when soils become water-logged due to above normal precipitation. Symptoms can include reduced or no nitrogen fixation, a reduction in plant biomass and yield loss is common but patchy.

No commercial cultivars of peas have root-rot resistance although inoculants and seed treatments can help to lessen the damage. One of the several components of Dr. Chatterton’s study involves surveying pea fields and testing for the presence of Fusarium. Producer’s participation in studies such as this or the CARP cutworm project is critical. The greater the number of samples that can be analyzed the more conclusive and consistent the results of the research study will be.

Robyne Bowness, Alberta Agriculture pulse specialist, provided an update about faba beans looking back over what we know and have learned about growing this crop successfully. Faba beans have seen significant increase in acreage in the last two seasons; AFSC reported a 250% increase in seeded acres from 2012 to 2013. Faba beans should be seeded as early as possible, prior to May 7th is best, which will reduce the risk of the crop not maturing in time to harvest. Early seeding of faba beans has shown to have up to a 32% yield advantage to crops seeded later.

Seeds and seedlings are extremely tolerant to cold soil and air temperatures, risk of damage due to these conditions are low. Chocolate spot was the only disease that has been confirmed to be present in Alberta fields at this time. Control options for this disease are limited and economic thresholds for control are not well established. Last year there were some isolated issues related to failure of the bean plants to pod. Potential explanations could include late seeding, pesticide residue, seeded on a field with manure applied within the last year or cool temperatures combined with high precipitation.

Bowness stressed the importance of field selection when planning to seed faba beans. Take home messages were:

  • Watch your herbicide residues (if you have used Lontrel- wait at least 2 years before seeding beans)
  • Do not put on high N ground (25-30 lbs N or below is OK)
  • Avoid fields with a history of manure application

To close the two day conference, participants were challenged to think about what is trending in agriculture and given insight on the delicate balance in decision making processes regarding agronomy versus economics.

For a complete list of speakers and their presentations, visit$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/crop14718.