Episode 11

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Published on:

11th Aug 2020

Pea Aphids and Pea Leaf Weevil

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:

  • Meet Lance Lindbloom and Dr. Sean Prager as they discuss pulse crop pests
  • Explore the pests causing the most concern in pulse crops
  • Learn about different management and scouting techniques in regards to pests
  • Find out what you can do to keep this challenge from becoming a very real problem


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



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About the Podcast

Growing Pulse Crops
The science and business of farming field peas, chickpeas, and lentils
Join us as we follow pulse crop farmers through the growing season and dive into the research that’s helping them through some of the challenges they face. We’ll also talk to a number of other industry stakeholders along the way.

Demand for these nutrient-dense, high-protein foods continues to grow. There is also interest from farmers to include more pulses into diverse rotations for benefits like nitrogen fixation and soil health.

But the industry continues to face challenges, and we are eager to address these head on. So if you’re a pulse grower or in any way interested in these important crops, hit subscribe and stay tuned for future episodes. We’ll be back with plenty of information about challenges pulse farmers are facing throughout the U.S. and what solutions are working.

Brought to you by the Pulse Crops Working Group with support from the North Central IPM Center and USDA NIFA.

About your host

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Tim Hammerich

I share stories about agriculture, agtech, and agribusiness on podcasts and radio.