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Even in Dry Conditions, Keep Aphanomyces and BLS in Mind

In dry conditions like what are being seen in Alberta and other places on the Prairies right now, managing the risk of Aphanomyces and bacterial leaf streak (BLS) requires effective strategies to mitigate the impact of these diseases on seed crops.

Moisture is a key factor in the development and spread of these pathogens, making it crucial to adopt appropriate measures. In drier years, disease incidence may be lower, but any increase in moisture can quickly trigger outbreaks. It’s important not to forget that.

To effectively manage Aphanomyces, crop rotation and careful management practices are essential. This pathogen can persist in the soil for years, so longer rotations between susceptible crops like peas and lentils, and avoiding host crops like alfalfa, are critical to prevent pathogen buildup. Even in unfavourable years, longer rotations help reduce the risk.

Early infections of Aphanomyces have a greater impact, so it’s important to use seed treatments during the seedling stage to suppress the disease. Planting susceptible crops in fields with Aphanomyces acts as a bridge for the pathogen’s survival, even in less favourable conditions. However, major outbreaks occur in very wet years. Severely affected fields require extended rotations beyond the recommended eight years, or even longer, to minimize the presence of inoculum. Weather patterns throughout the growing season also play a role, so long-term factors should be considered.

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