Effect and underlying mechanisms of cultivar mixtures on weed and disease suppression in field pea (Pisum sativum)
Field pea is an important annual crop due to its contribution to soil fertility and other rotational benefits. However, weeds and ascochyta blight limit pea yield, particularly in organic systems. Leafed and semi-leafless pea types differ in lodging resistance, and may affect weeds and disease through differences in canopy light penetration and air flow. Mixtures of the two leaf types may improve weed and disease suppression and yield compared with monocultures of the same cultivars. To test this hypothesis, replicated field experiments were conducted under organic and conventional management in Saskatoon and Vonda, SK, in 2011 and 2012. Mixtures of a leafed and semi-leafless cultivar, CDC Sonata and CDC Dakota, were sown in ratios of 0:100, 25:75, 50:50, 75:25, and 100:0 leafed to semi-leafless pea, at target seeding rates of 88 and 132 plants m-2. Conventionally managed plots were inoculated with ascochyta blight-infested pea straw and received overhead irrigation to encourage disease. Mixtures of 50% or more semi-leafless pea adopted the greater lodging resistance and weed suppression of the semi-leafless cultivar. Mixtures comprised of 25% leafed and 75% semi-leafless pea increased both seed and biomass yield compared with either cultivar grown alone. Yield enhancement was attributed to the leafed cultivar, whose seed yield was 76% higher in mixture than expected based on monoculture yield. Ascochyta blight epidemics were of moderate severity, and leafed and semi-leafless monocultures reached 36 and 43% necrosis in 2011, and 33 and 38% necrosis in 2012, respectively. The disease reaction of mixtures fell between the two component cultivars. At disease onset in 2012, lower light interception and shorter moisture durations coincided with the lower ascochyta blight severity of leafed monocultures. In 2011 and the later phase of the 2012 epidemic, disease severity was negatively associated with vine length, and positively associated with number of nodes and tissue senescence. Despite the advantages of leafed and semi-leafless pea mixtures, the limited selection of leafed cultivars impedes adoption of this technique by growers. For pea breeders, developing mixtures of pea lines isogenic for leaf type may increase yield compared with single cultivars.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
SupervisorShirtliffe, Steven J.; Banniza, Sabine
CommitteeVandenberg, Albert; Kutcher, H. R.; Coulman, Bruce
Copyright DateFebruary 2014
Pisum sativum L.