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Pulse School: Staging peas and lentils for in-crop herbicides

By: RealAgriculture Agronomy Team

June 18, 2021

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Pulse crops can show a lot of height variability during the growing season, and this early on, staging a pulse crop for a herbicide application certainly requires more than just a drive by.

“You really have to get out in a field to get staging on peas right,” says Daniel Packer, senior brand manager of herbicides at BASF, in this Pulse School episode. “They can be anywhere from two inches high, to six inches high, to ten inches high when it’s time to spray.”

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Digging up a few plants is always a good idea, because to properly stage the crop, the scale nodes need to be visible.

“Most of your [pea] herbicides can be sprayed anywhere from one to six nodes,” says Packer, so to properly stage the crop, pull up a plant, look at the two scale nodes, which are usually at or just below the surface, and then begin counting any of the unfolded leaves, above those two scale nodes. (Story continues below video)

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In a scenario where the pulse crop got touched by frost, the crop can regrow from the scale nodes, which can make staging a little bit more tricky.

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“In a situation where you have two new shoots growing from the same seed out of those scale nodes, you’re going to count all the nodes above-ground on each of those shoots, as one,” says Packer. For example, if there are two nodes on two new shoots that are coming from the same plant, that counts as four nodes.

Packer also says that if the crop got rained on within the rain-fast period, most in-crop Group 2 herbicides can take about two weeks before seeing symptoms in weeds, so wait before going in to do a re-spray.

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Lentils need to be staged in the same way, by pulling up the plant and going past the first two scale nodes, then counting the nodes above for proper timing.

The content in this post has been edited for clarity. Always follow all label directions of any product and best management practices for your growing region.