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Pulse flowers blast in heat causing yield reductions across Alberta JUL 16 2021 | Producers | News Release

Weather is challenging pulse growers across the province. Pulse crops handle a variety of trials with their life cycle and farmers have worked to mitigate some of them, but weather is out of the farmer’s control.

“Pulse crops are grown across Alberta and there is diversity in crop types like pea, lentil, faba bean, dry bean and chickpea,” said APG Chair Robert Semeniuk. “There is also variability in weather conditions in the province. The one common point is that yields of all pulses have been affected by the intense heat this summer.”

Typically, pulse crops like pea and faba bean are planted early in the spring enabling them to grow through their life cycle to harvest before many of the other crops on the farm. The benefit of early planting is that pulses will flower earlier starting mid-June and complete seed set around the end of July depending upon the cultivar. Harvest also progresses earlier being a benefit for farmers to have pulses in rotation on the farm. This year, the heat has been early and intense causing flowers to ‘blast’ or prematurely abort and not form a pod. By not forming a pod the plant cannot produce seeds and yield is affected.

“Abiotic stress, like that from heat and drought conditions or even excess moisture like in certain parts of the province last year, needs to be further researched for pulse crops,” said APG Research Manager Dr. Jenn Walker. “We are actively working with a team of scientists on methods and traits that help pulse crops mitigate these kinds of stresses. This future research work will provide solutions.”

With the weather effects being widespread and impacting many other crops, APG is reaching out to crop commission colleagues, the Government of Alberta and Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) to discuss the repercussions of heat and lack of moisture and how to deal with the consequences.

The Alberta Pulse Growers Commission represents 6,500 growers of field pea, dry bean, lentil, chickpea, faba bean and soybean in Alberta. Our vision is to have Alberta pulses on every farm, on every plate.

For more information, please contact:
Rachel Peterson, Communications Coordinator
Phone: 780-986-9398 ext. 108