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Conservation management practices and rotations for irrigated dry bean production in Southern Alberta

Larney, F.J., Pearson, D.C., Li, L., Blackshaw, R.E., Lupwayi, N.Z. (2015). Conservation management practices and rotations for irrigated dry bean production in Southern Alberta, 107(6), 2281-2293.


© 2015 by the American Society of Agronomy 5585 Guilford Road, Madison, WI 53711 USA All rights reserved. Dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) production on the Canadian prairies has traditionally used wide rows, inter-row cultivation, and undercutting at harvest. Recent breeding efforts have produced cultivars with more upright growth which are better suited to solid-seeded narrow-row production systems. A 12 yr (2000–2011) study compared conservation (CONS) and conventional (CONV) management for dry bean in 3- to 6-yr rotations. The CONS rotations included reduced tillage, cover crops, feedlot manure compost, and solid-seeded narrow-row dry bean. Effects of CONS management on plant density were inconsistent with some years showing lower density when seeded into high-residue conditions. On average, there was a 3 d maturity advantage with CONS (103 d) vs. CONV (106 d) management. The CONS rotations showed significantly higher mean incidence (19%) of white mold [Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib.) de Bary] than CONV rotations (6%). Averaging across 12 yr, there was no significant rotation effect on yield (P = 0.19) showing that CONS production performed as good as CONV production. In the last 2 yr (2010–2011) of the study, in an attempt to reduce harvest losses, CONS dry bean was undercut rather than direct combined. This led to significantly higher (25%) yield with CONS (3311 kg ha–1) vs. CONV management (2651 kg ha–1). Our results provide incentive for more rapid adoption of conservation-oriented soil and crop management practices for dry bean production on the Canadian prairies, including narrow rows, reduced tillage, cover crops, and feedlot manure compost addition.

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