Moving forward to sustainable development of the Saskatchewan pulse industry

  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Peas
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
  • Crop Rotation
  • Soil Health
  • Sustainability
  • Variety Development

Lead Investigator(s)

Dr. Yantai Gan, Dr. Jeff Stewart

Lead Investigator(s) Institution

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


To evaluate pulse germplasms and varieties, including pea, lentil, and chickpea, for their yields and key agronomic traits for the Crop Development Centre (CDC) pulse breeding program. To determine the effect of crop sequences and pulse intensification on soil microbial community and biodiversity. To determine key factors causing field pea yield declining in southwest Saskatchewan: pulse sequences/frequencies on pathogenicity. To quantify the carbon footprint of various pulse crops and various pulse-based cropping systems on the semiarid Canadian prairie.


This project assessed the effects of crop rotation comprising of canola (C), lentil (L), oat (O), pea (P), and wheat (W) and the crops prior to these rotation crops on the performance and rhizosphere fungal communities. Both crop rotations and previous crops had significant impacts on crop performance. Pea yield was the highest in wheat-lentil-oat-pea rotation (3494 kg ha-1), followed by wheat-canola-oat-pea rotation (2943 kg ha-1) and wheat-pea-canola-pea rotation had the lowest pea yield (2045 kg ha-1). Pea preceded by oat had significantly higher yield (P < 0.0098) compared to pea preceded by canola, lentil or wheat. Wheat yield was significantly higher (P < 0.012) when rotated with pulse or canola (PCPW and PLPW) in compare to oat (COPW, LOPW and POPW). The wheat yield was about 20% higher in plots preceded by canola (3593 kg ha-1) and lentil (3533 kg ha-1) than by oat (2948 kg ha-1). Both rotation sequence and previous crop significantly affected rhizosphere fungal community composition, and the effect of rotation sequence was greater than the effect of the previous crop. The lowest level of fungal evenness were observed in pea of the rotation wheat-[ea-lentil-pea and in pea preceded by lentil. The fungal community was the most diverse in pea preceded by wheat and least diverse in pea preceded by canola. The proportion of pathotrophs increased in intensive pulse rotations such as wheat-pea-lentil-pea. Fusarium genus was the predominant pathogens among the rotations. Rotations with oat increased the relative abundance of F. solani and F. graminearum, but inclusion of lentil in the rotation decreased F. solani abundance. Pathotrophs such as O. brassicae, Mortierella elongata, and B. cinerea increased in pea preceded by lentil. Redundancy analysis showed that soil micronutrients such as Mg, Ca, Cu, and K affected fungal community but the effects were generally small. This study emphasized the importance of crop diversification for improved soil properties and increased systems productivity. It also highlighted the role of individual crops in rotations to manage rhizosphere fungal communities, and ensure the productivity and profitability of cropping systems.

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Project Status


Duration/Timeline of Project (Year to Year)

2011 - 2016