Applied pest management in dry bean production systems

Project Title:Applied pest management in dry bean production systems
Principal Investigator:Chris Gillard, University of Guelph
Co-Investigators:Francis Larney, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Syama Chatterton, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Objectives of the study are to:

  1. Identify seed treatments that are efficacious for SCN, potato leafhopper, anthracnose and root rot
  2. Develop long term efficacy data for control products for SCN, root rot, white mold, anthracnose and common bacterial blight (i.e. determine the consistency of performance over environments)
  3. Determine the economic returns of pest management control products to growers
  4. Identify specific pest management issues and fill the knowledge gap
  5. Evaluate new technology (e.g. remote sensing) and determine its role in disease management
  6. Build a pest management strategy for new pests (e.g. SCN and western bean cutworm)
  7. Collaborate with other pulse researchers and provide expertise in pest management

There are a number of important pests that impact dry bean production in Canada. Growers typically use chemical controls a key management tool for pests. These tools are costly, and growers need independent advice on product performance and the economic returns on investment (ROI). My research program focuses on this aspect, and my program’s applied research uniquely fills this gap. Environmental conditions, including temperature and rainfall patterns, can have a dramatic impact on the development of fungal pathogens and the effectiveness of chemical controls. To account for this, the research is conducted over multiple years to provide long term data, which determines the consistency of product performance over a range of environmental conditions.

The anthracnose and white mold management strategy currently is comprehensive, with genetic, cultural and chemical controls available to growers. New chemicals are evaluated each year, and compared to existing industry standards. Holes in the current management strategy are identified and addressed. Current projects include the impact of plant population and row width on disease development, and the interaction in a fungicide x fertilizer tank mixes.

The management of common bacterial blight (CBB) currently relies on disease free seed, which is produced primarily in Idaho. This represents a significant cost to growers each year. Plant breeders are incorporating genetic resistance into new cultivars, but it is anticipated that it will take many years to develop CBB resistant cultivars that growers and end users desire. The current program continues to search for a seed treatment or foliar product that can provide season-long control of this disease. Success to date has been limited.

Root rot is caused by a complex of fungal species in the soil, and it is considered to be the largest pest problem of dry beans in Canada. Good crop production practices including crop rotation, tile drainage and minimizing soil compaction can help reduce the impact of this pest. Seed treatments can help to manage early season infection, when the plant is young and vulnerable. Seed companies are now regularly applying up to six different seed treatment chemicals to dry bean seed, to manage the complex of root rot species present in Canadian soils. There is a need to document the impact that each chemical has on the major fungal species, and the economic returns of seed treatment used to manage this pest.

Dry bean is an alternate host to soybean cyst nematode (SCN), and this pest currently impacts dry bean production in Ontario and Quebec. It is anticipated that SCN will colonize the Red River valley in Manitoba in the next few years, since soils in North Dakota and Minnesota are already infected. In soybeans, genetic resistance is the key management strategy, but a number of chemical and biological seed treatments are registered for use. Little is known about genetic resistance in dry beans, so this program has focused on evaluating seed treatments as a stop gap effort to manage this pest. Western bean cutworm (WBC) is a very recent pest that has become established in Ontario in the last five years. It feeds on dry bean pods and seed in August, causing direct yield and seed quality issues for growers. A management strategy has been established which includes rudimentary thresholds and two insecticide controls. The damage to dry bean crops has been limited to date. Field scouting is done each year to reinforce our knowledge for damage thresholds and provide growers with sound advice on the need/timing of insecticide controls.