Pulse crops are prime targets for harvest dry-down applications, if only because of their indeterminate growth. Add in some less-than-stellar weed control at times, and a desiccant or pre-harvest application of glyphosate can be a great harvest management tool. There are a few things to keep in mind, however, in order to maintain top yield and quality and, perhaps most importantly, maintain market access to some of Canada’s pulse customers.
Contrary to popular belief, a desiccant or pre-harvest glyphosate application will NOT speed maturity — one simply dries down the crop quickly, the other kills the plant, eventually leading to dry-down, albeit more slowly. Diquat (Reglone) will work fastest, sometimes as quickly as four days, but costs more. Glyphosate has the benefit of weed control on some perennial weeds, like Canada thistle, but can take up to two full weeks to work. Because of this, many farmers may jump the gun on application timing, which can cost them dearly in yield.
In this Pulse School episode, Erin Campbell of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, shows us what a desiccant-ready pea plant looks like, plus offers tips on gauging readiness of other pulse crop types. She also covers why pre-harvest products can create concern about exceeding maximum residue limits in the resulting grain, and how to avoid the issue. For the latest on MRLs in pulse crops, see Saskatchewan Pulse Growers’ MRL Guidelines For Growers.