- (Public Value) UCANR: Safeguarding abundant and healthy food for all Californians
- Author: Rachael Freeman Long
Recently, I received a call about a blackeye bean field in the San Joaquin Valley with a lot of bean pods that did not fill out at the tips (photo). I contacted the UC Riverside blackeye bean breeders Drs. Phil Roberts and Bao Lam Huynh and they shared that this problem is primarily caused by heat, which affects pollen viability and thus fertilization. Here's their response:
It [lack of pod fill] is the typical male-sterility symptom [lack of pollen viability] associated with extreme temperatures (heat or cold). Based on the planting date you gave, we just checked the temperature in Denair, CA [farm location] and noted that it was quite warm (~100) during the flowering time (40-50 days after planting) and recently during the pod filling stage, so heat must have been a main cause. The symptom could also be more severe if water is limiting.
Always be prepared with good irrigation management practices for all crops going into heatwaves, like the one we're having now. The minimum seasonal irrigation needed to produce a blackeye bean crop being managed for full yield from one pod set is 16 to 18 inches. This estimate includes a pre-irrigation of 4-inches, and irrigations of 4-inches when floral buds first appear, and 8 to 10 inches during 5 to 6 weeks of flowering and pod filling. If additional irrigations are needed during the vegetative stage, one could increase the total irrigation requirement to 20 or more inches. Irrigating for a second flush of pods could require an additional 8 to 12 inches of water. Irrigation requirements are further increased by any water required to leach salts or to compensate for an inefficient irrigation system.
Additional water may need to be applied during extreme heat events which drive plant transpiration rates to the limit. Make sure to check the soil moisture in the top 12 to 24 inches of the soil profile and apply additional water if the soil is dry. If in doubt about how much additional water is needed, check the reference evapotranspiration (ETo) and make sure to irrigate to replace at least 120% of your daily ETo in your area. The current (mid to late August) daily ETo in the San Joaquin Valley ranges from 0.25 to 0.30 in/day; make sure your applied irrigation replaces 120% of these values.
More information on growing blackeye beans can be found in the publication, UC ANR Blackeye bean production in California, http://beans.ucanr.edu/files/226601.pdf.
- Author: Rachael Freeman Long
- Author: Sarah LIght
Field trials in the Central Valley with two new varieties of blackeye beans, CB74 and CB77, show impressive resistance to cowpea aphids compared to standard CB46, CB5, and CB50 lines. Four varieties of blackeyes including CB46, CB77, CB74, and CB5 were seeded into a blackeye CB50 field, in single lines on 30-inch beds in the Sacramento Valley in May 2020 (Photo 1). By mid-summer, CB50, CB46, and CB5 were heavily infested with aphids (photo 2), whereas CB74 and CB77 were clean (photo 3).
Cowpea aphids are serious insect pests of blackeyes. These aphids can quickly colonize plants and cause injury by direct feeding and injecting toxic saliva into plants, leading to stunted growth or death of plants. Sticky honeydew released by the aphids can stimulate black mold growth on plants, reducing photosynthesis and plant health. Cowpea aphids also vector a number of viral mosaic diseases that can cause serious losses in many crops. Biological control cannot be relied on because natural enemies often appear when cowpea aphid infestations are already high and causing serious damage. Applying pesticides early in the season prevents cowpea aphid infestations but beneficial insects can be destroyed, leading to outbreaks of other insect pests. Thus, the development of cowpea aphid resistant blackeye lines is an important breakthrough in managing this pest.
Blackeye beans, also known as cowpeas, or blackeye peas in southern states, are an important food crop worldwide. In California, about 8,000 acres are grown annually for dry or canned blackeye bean markets. These new blackeye bean lines are being developed by the UC Riverside blackeye breeding program, led by Drs. Phil Roberts and Bao Lam Huynh, with support from the California Dry Bean Advisory Board and the US AID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Legume Systems Research (formerly Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Grain Legumes). The aphid resistance and other traits have been introgressed into California Blackeye elite backgrounds using natural selection and new molecular markers to expedite the breeding process. Compared to standard varieties, CB74 and CB77 also have more stable yields resulting from heat tolerance, better tolerance to lygus bugs, and equivalent resistance to Fusarium wilt and root-knot nematodes.
Blackeye variety observation trials are being conducted in fields by UCCE Farm Advisors Rachael Long, Sarah Light, and Nick Clark in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, in collaboration with local farmers. More information on blackeye beans can be found in the Blackeye bean production manual for California, UC ANR 21518, http://beans.ucanr.edu/files/226601.pdf. The lead UC bean breeders hope to have these lines available to farmers within the next few years.
- Author: Rachael Freeman Long
In May, I looked at a lima bean field in the Sacramento Valley that showed poor seedling emergence scattered throughout the field (photo 1). I sent samples to the UC Davis Plant Pathology lab and the main pathogen consistently recovered from the roots was Fusarium root rot, a fungal disease caused by Fusarium solani f. sp. phaseoli. This pathogen is specific to beans and field peas and will not infect other field crops. A few bean seedlings also had Rhizoctonia and Pythium (also fungal pathogens).
Finding Fusarium root rot in a lima bean seedling field was a surprise because this disease is most commonly encountered in established fields during mid- to late season, where it is one of the causes of early maturity ("cut out"). Rhizoctonia and Pythium can cause seedling damping-off in dry beans. However, plants usually outgrow these pathogens, particularly if the seed is treated with a fungicide and conditions favor rapid emergence.
Fusarium solani attacks underground stems and roots of plants. In established plants, early infection is characterized by elongated reddish streaks on the roots. As the disease progresses, these eventually form reddish-brown lesions that will surround the entire root, causing decay. The above ground plant symptoms of affected plants included yellowing, wilting, stunting, and dieback. On seedling plants in the affected field, I observed dieback of the growing point, stems that were a bit swollen, and roots that were brownish and not well developed (Photo 2, diseased roots on left, healthy on right).
Fusarium root rot causes little damage to healthy plants, but under conditions of plant stress due to drought, poor nutrition, or oxygen-stressed, waterlogged soils, Fusarium root rot can cause plant dieback and yield losses, particularly in fields with a long history of bean production. In this particular lima bean field, soil moisture was lost, causing plants to be extremely water stressed. Crop rotation, use of seed treatments, and closely watching field conditions to ensure plants are not stressed will help manage Fusarium root rot. This disease tends to be a problem in fields with a long history of bean production. More information on diseases in dry beans can be found on the newly revised UC IPM guidelines for dry beans.