Page 24 - Alberta Pulse Growers

Seeding Best Management Practices of
Peas and Other Pulses
Pulse crops are great to have in a
rotation but how do you get started?
Here’s a quick summary of best management practices for seeding for producers who have limited experience
with pulse crops. This guide will provide an overview on land preparation,
varieties, inoculants and fertility.
Deciding to Seed a Pulse Crop
• Markets: Choosing the right crop
and variety for your operation is
the most important decision you
will make, because that seed will
have the potential to impact every step of the growing season.
This decision will be mostly impacted by what market is available for your crop, rather than the
agronomics of how it will grow on
your farm. Look at what marketing options are available BEFORE
choosing a crop and variety.
Check the Alberta Pulse Growers
website for a list of buyers (www. or call
your local dealer and ask about
your options.
• Seed: After determining what
pulse crop to grow, you’ll need to
find the right seed. The Alberta
Seed Guide ( is
a good place to start looking for
varieties and growers. Growing
certified seed guarantees that the
seed you buy has gone through all
proper multiplication, inspection
and cleaning processes to ensure
a pure product.
• Varieties: The Alberta Seed
Guide, the Alberta Pulse Growers
(, Ropin’ the Web (http://
index.jsp) and the Winter edition
of Pulse Crop News also has varietal information from the pulse Regional Variety Trials (RVTs) that are
funded by the commission each
Spring 2015
year. These trials include data on
standability, maturity rating and
disease resistance on the latest
Land Preparation
Rolling your land can be beneficial
for pushing down rocks or make harvesting lodged pulse crops easier
on equipment, with the exception of
faba beans which tend to stand fairly
well. Rolling land is common, however, timing is important. According
to Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development “pre-emergence rolling for
pulse crops is the preferred approach,
as opposed to post-emergence, with
certain exceptions. Pre-emergence
rolling is not recommended under the
following conditions: extremely wet
conditions on clay soils prone to crusting, sandy soils prone to erosion, dry
soils prone to erosion or pea soils.”
Post-emergence rolling can be done
on peas or lentils but pre-emergent
rolling is preferred.
Some suggestions for rolling your field:
• Roll the field soon after seeding
if possible as late seeding may
cause bruising of the stem and increase risk of disease spreading.
• Roll the field when the soil surface
is dry, not in the morning. Rolling
wet leaves can also cause disease to spread.
• Rolling headlands is not necessary as it can result in double rolling and can thin out a crop.
Pre-emergent Herbicides
Pulse crops require planned disease
and pest management strategies
throughout the season, but applying
an early spring burn-down and preemergent herbicide can ensure your
crop gets a head start on weeds.
Choosing Inoculant
One of the most important inputs for
any pulse crop is inoculant. Inoculant
is comprised of bacteria called rhizobia that cause root nodule formation on
legume crops. Good nodulation is key
for nitrogen fixation by these crops.
In some cases, soil already contains
some rhizobium bacteria but adding
inoculant at seeding ensures your
crop has enough of the rhizobia when
seed germination and root formation
occurs. It is important to choose an
inoculant that has a strain of rhizobia
specific to the pulse crop that you are
growing. It is advised to inoculate your
seed the day that you seed, depending on the type of inoculant you use.
Read the label since some inoculants
can’t be mixed with pesticides or fertilizer. To choose a proper inoculant, ensure you talk to your input supplier and
read all labels carefully.
Inoculants come in three formulations:
• Peat powder inoculant: Applied
directly to the seed with a nontoxic sticking agent, this formulation is a finely ground peat that
contains over a billion rhizobia
per gram. Peat powder inoculant
is one of the most common types
used in Canada.
• Liquid inoculant: This formulation,
which also contains over a billion
rhizobia per gram, is applied directly to the seed, and because
it comes in liquid form, a sticking
agent is typically included in the
fluid. Liquid inoculant comes in
bags that make it easy to distribute evenly onto the seed while it is
being augered into a truck box or
through a drill fill.
• Granular soil inoculant: Unlike
peat powder or liquid inoculants,
granular soil inoculant is not applied directly to the seed, but rath-
Seeding Best Management Practices of
Peas and Other Pulses - Cont’d
er with the seed in the seed row.
This formulation does, however,
contain the same amount of rhizobia as both the powder and liquid
inoculants and is gaining in popularity because it works well over a
range of environmental conditions
(i.e. lower pH, dry).
Importance of Seed Treatment
Treating seed will help ensure your
pulse crop gets off to a healthy start
as disease can cause yield loss, harvest problems and poor seed quality.
These diseases can be controlled, in
part, through sound agronomic and
chemical controls. Use Alberta Agriculture’s Blue Book for an up-to-date
resource and talk with your agronomist or input supplier about pulse
seed treatments.
Each crop is susceptible to different types of seedling diseases such
as seedling blight, root rot, damping
off and foot rot caused by soil-borne
pathogens; Fusarium, Rhizoctonia,
Pythium and Aphanomyces.
Fertilizing Pulse Crops
Pulse crops remove nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and sulphur) from the soil. Soil testing is the
best way to determine fertility requirements of your land. Added nitrogen is
not required by pulse crops as these
crops fix nitrogen from the air for their
own use. Phosphorous is the most
common macronutrient required, but
crop response to potassium, sulphur
and micronutrients is less common.
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development has more information on pulse
crop nutrient requirements on their
website, Ropin’ the Web, (http://www.
under the crop information section.
For more information, visit APG’s new
digital Pulse Production Manual available online (
APG Applauds Royal Assent of Plant Breeders’ Rights Update
The Alberta Pulse Growers Commission (APG) is pleased that changes to
federal Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR)
legislation that were supported by the
organization received Royal Assent in
ners in Innovation. “The amendments
improve the conditions needed to encourage industry innovation and additional investment to make our sector
stronger. This means more and better
crop varieties for farmers.”
The amendments found in Bill C-18,
An Act to Amend Certain Acts Relating
to Agriculture and Agri-Food (Canadian Agricultural Growth Act), will align
PBR with the 1991 Convention of the
International Union for the Protection
of New Plant Varieties. It offers opportunities for increased investment and
delivery of new varieties from plant
breeders operating in and outside of
Canada, as well as ensuring that farmers have access to new and improved
varieties developed in Canada and internationally.
As a Partners in Innovation member,
APG looks forward to working with the
federal government on implementing
the PBR amendments in the coming
“These are important components of
an agricultural sector that is sustainable, innovative and competitive,”
said APG Chair Allison Ammeter, noting that APG also supported the legislative changes as a member of Part-
to compete in the global market and
make a contribution to the effort to
feed, fuel and clothe a rapidly growing
world population.
Partners in Innovation is a coalition of 20 farmer, industry and
value chain organizations
representing the vast majority of farmers and accounting
for most of Canada’s crop
production acres, including
grains, oilseeds, pulse crops,
vegetables and fruit, potatoes
and ornamentals. The members of
Partners in Innovation supported
amendments to Plant Breeders’ Rights
which are critical to the ability of our
farmers and our agricultural industry
Spring 2015