Pulses require unique rotations, harvesting and inputs. To continue with this theme, they also have unique pest challenges. Today we are joined by Lance Lindbloom the Lead Agronomist for 406 Agronomy and Dr. Sean Prager an Assistant Professor at the University of Saskatchewan College of Agriculture and Bioresources Plant Science Department.

“Our chickpeas are ones that are most bulletproof when it comes to insects.” – Lance Lindbloom

Lentils, on the other hand, seem to be most affected by pests specifically grasshoppers and aphids. The Pea Leaf Weevil can cause a lot of damage to pea crops and can be difficult to identify. The many life stages will drain the yield of the crop. While adults feed on the leaves, the larval stage hollows out the nodules below ground and are therefore more difficult to find..

“If you’re seeing the damage this year. You’re seeing them in the area. You really need to look at using the seed treat to kind of get control of them, at least to hold down that damage on those plants.” – Lance Lindbloom

Pea aphids are also extremely difficult to observe. Sweep netting is the practice used to capture and observe aphid populations. At that time you can also scout for aphid predators such as ladybugs to evaluate their population and ability to prey on aphids.

“In some ways it might be the biggest concern we have is actually increasingly now pea aphids. Because in bad years, even without any viruses, just on their own they’re really really problematic. – Dr. Sean Prager

Pea aphids are becoming more prominent of a concern because of their likelihood to transfer to and become problematic for other pulse crops. Again, they can be difficult to identify and evaluate for thresholds of aphid populations. Dr. Prager is currently trying to create a measurable threshold for producers that doesn’t involve counting individual aphids. Tracking wind trajectories can help producers predict when aphids might be spread or transferred between fields which would indicate increasing efforts to scout for evidence of infestation. While plants can tolerate a certain population of aphids they are very susceptible to the viruses they carry so the tolerance threshold decreases dramatically when that occurs. 

“All bets are off if there actually is virus being transmitted by those aphids. Then the rules change.” – Dr. Sean Prager

This Week on Growing Pulse Crops:

Growing Pulse Crops Podcast is hosted by Tim Hammerich of the Future of Agriculture Podcast.

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