With pulse acres down sharply, growers look to maximize yields

The year 2011 is turning out to be a mixed news story with an upside for pea and lentil growers in Western Canada.

While total production and supply of these crops are expected to fall sharply this year, prices – averaged over all types, grades and markets – are expected to increase compared to 2010.

Statistics Canada’s March 2011 Seeding Intentions Survey indicates that a significant portion of the area intended for peas and lentils may not be harvested. Very wet soil conditions in parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba put seeding well behind schedule.

“All the rain made it a tough spring for many of our customers,” says Dick Gelley, BASF business representative out of Central Saskatchewan. “But with the acres of peas and lentils down and prices forecasted to be up, growers need to make sure they maximize their yields and profits on every acre.”

Canada is one of the world’s largest exporters of pulses. It is estimated that Canadian pulse exports are valued at more than $2 billion and represent about 40 per cent of the global pulse trade. Those numbers could increase in future years. As the middle class grows in key markets, including India and China, so does the customer base for imported dry beans, peas, pulses and lentils.

“One of the best ways growers can ensure their crops are healthy and they get the best yield is to take a more proactive approach when it comes to protecting against disease,” says Wes Anderson, a retail agronomist at Richardson. “My advice is to choose a quality fungicide, like Headline, and spray early so that you stop the signs of disease before they even start.”

Glen Forster, Technical Specialist for BASF Canada, says the company has seen more pea and lentil growers rely on Headline fungicide to maximize returns.

“Headline has proven each year that it provides the best level of disease control on the market in both peas and lentils,” he says. “In addition, the active ingredient in Headline, pyraclostrobin, is the only fungicide that can provide AgCelence® benefits for optimized plant health. Because the crop is not fighting disease, it can more efficiently convert carbon and nitrogen to improve growth and production.”

In 184 trials over the last eight years, Headline boosted pea yields by an average of 11 per cent or five bushels per acre. Over 40 per cent of these growers more than doubled their return on investment. In the last five years, lentil growers observed increased yields by 120 lb/ac with Headline across more than 60 locations. In addition, the seed size of their harvested crop increased and crops remained standing for easier harvesting – both contributing to improved seed quality.

For best results, Forster recommends applying Headline at early flower before canopy closure to allow penetration of the fungicide into the lower canopy and onto the stems. If growing conditions are moist and favourable for the development of white or grey mould, Lance should be applied 10 to 14 days after Headline.

About BASF Crop Protection Division

With sales of €4.0 billion in 2010, BASF’s Crop Protection division is a leader in crop protection and a strong partner to the farming industry providing well-established and innovative fungicides, insecticides and herbicides. Farmers use these products and services to improve crop yields and crop quality. Other uses include public health, structural/urban pest control, turf and ornamental plants, vegetation management, and forestry. BASF aims to turn knowledge rapidly into market success. The vision of BASF’s Crop Protection division is to be the world’s leading innovator, optimizing agricultural production, improving nutrition, and thus enhancing the quality of life for a growing world population. Further information can be found on the web at or follow us on twitter:

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Tabetha Boot
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