Episode 9

Published on:

27th May 2022

Weed Management in Lentils with Steve Shirtliffe, Ph.D.

Dr. Steve Shirtliffe joins us to talk about weed management in lentils. Steve is a professor in the department of plant sciences at the University of Saskatchewan. His research over the past couple of decades has focused on agronomy, with extensive work on weed management in pulses specifically. Steve and I talk about some of the challenges specific to lentils when it comes to weed management, and some of the latest research, innovation and best practices in this area. Steve and his colleagues and graduate students have had the chance to explore a lot of different possibilities for integrated weed management in pulses. One practice that has made a significant difference has been increasing seeding rates. 

“We found that basically as soon as you started to increase your seeding rate, You got more crop biomass that meant there was less weed biomass that was there. So it was essentially just kind of almost a replacement thing that the more crop biomass you got there, you got that much less weed biomass.” - Dr. Steve Shirtliffe

But of course increasing the seeding rate isn’t the only answer for organic weed management. They’ve also looked at a variety of mechanical control methods, and tried to determine what would give producers the most optimal weed control. With resistance to group two herbicides, conventional farmers are benefitting from these practices as well. Although Steve admits that herbicides are still mostly preferred while available and still effective. 

“If you can keep them weed-free from the five node stage to the ten node stage, if you can control weeds in that zone, you're home free, that's it. You don't have to worry about the weeds that start after that. And if you control them by the five node stage, they haven't done enough damage. So if you can keep them weed free in that period, you've done your job.” - Dr. Steve Shirtliffe

This Week on Growing Pulse Crops:

  • Meet Dr. Steve Shirtliffe, a professor in the department of plant sciences at the University of Saskatchewan.
  • Explore the effect of seeding rate in organic weed management especially with limited options for inputs when growing pulse crops
  • Discover equipment and timing options that most efficiently and effectively manage weed populations

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
This show features the latest in research, agronomy, and economics of pulse crops (peas, chickpeas, lentils, etc.).

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.