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Managing anthracnose in lentils

Managing anthracnose in lentils

Initial signs will look similar to ascochyta, an industry rep said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Before a producer can begin to develop a plan for controlling anthracnose in a lentil field, he or she must properly identify the disease.

Early signs of the disease are similar to another, but plants with anthracnose will develop specific visual and physical characteristics, said Rory Cranston, cereal and pulse technical manager with Bayer.

“Anthracnose starts very similar to ascochyta but once anthracnose starts to develop, it’s a little bit different,” he told “With anthracnose, if you run your thumb on the stem over one of the lesions, you’ll feel it indenting whereas with ascochyta the stem will still feel smooth.”

Rory CranstonIf allowed to spread, anthracnose can cause significant yield loss.

Cranston estimates the disease, if left unchecked, can reduce yields by 50 per cent and affect quality grain too.

“It can affect pods and seeds, so each bushel would be worth less,” he said.

Growers in lentil-growing regions should assume they have anthracnose in their fields.

Lentils are going to be the host for the pathogen. These two components make up two thirds of the plant disease triangle.

The third part is weather, and anthracnose isn’t too picky, Cranston said.

“Antracnose prefers warm and humid conditions,” he said. “But it can do quite well in hot and dry conditions too. It’s a polycyclic disease, meaning it has multiple life cycles, and it can infect any above ground plant part.”

Different methods are available to help lentil growers manage anthracnose.

From a fungicide perspective, Bayer offers products farmers can purchase.

“We’ve recently registered Proline GOLD, which is a combination of a Group 3 and Group 7 products to control anthracnose,” Cranston said. “We also have Proline, which can be used for suppression of anthracnose in lentils.”

Regardless of which product brand a producer chooses to use, application timing is key, Cranston added.

“All fungicides, regardless of company, work better proactively than reactively,” Cranston said. “And with anthracnose, by the time you see the physical manifestation of the disease, that plant has already been affected for about five days and yield loss has already occurred.”

Farmers can also manage anthracnose by changing crop rotation cycles.

Allowing for longer periods between crop years can help reduce the inoculum in the soil.

“We don’t want a wheat-lentil-wheat-lentil rotation,” Cranston said. “Pulse stubble breaks down really well but giving it an extra year to break down more would be beneficial.”

More information on anthracnose and other diseases, pests and weeds can be found on the Field Guide.

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