Submitted to: Pisum Genetics
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2010
Publication Date: April 21, 2010
Citation: Furman, B.J., Coyne, C.J. 2010. Lentils in Alaska: Potential and Prospects. Pisum Genetics. 41:61-62.
The Western Regional Plant Introduction Station at Pullman, Washington holds the USDA collection of cool-season pulses. The USDA lentil collection consists of over 2800 accessions, including an established core collection of 280 accessions. This core collection was collaboratively grown out at the Sub-arctic Agricultural Research Unit's Germplasm site in Palmer, Alaska. Five commercial check varieties were included in the study. Two replications in randomized design were planted for a total of 570 plots. Although lentils have been previously tested in Alaska for nitrogen fixation, they had not been seriously considered for use as a grain crop. To our knowledge, this is the first major screening of lentil germplasm in Alaska.
The Alaska growing season is unique in that it is very short (approximately 90-100 days) with up to 22 hours of continuous daylight. Planting took place the first week of June in cool, damp soils. The growing season consisted of mostly warm, dry days. The major impediment during the season was a healthy weed population consisting mostly of lambsquarters and chickweed. Data were collected on days to emergence, days to 50% flowering, and plant height. Plots were also scored for both plant vigor and pod set vigor. Only 6 plots failed to produce pods at all. Twenty-nine accessions, including 2 check varieties, showed advanced pod set in both replications. A total of 77 accession, including 2 check varieties, showed advanced pod set in one of the two replications. Those accessions with a combination of excellent vigor and advanced pod set will be analyzed for nitrogen content to test their potential as a cover crop or forage.
The results presented here show that there is potential for lentils as a grain crop in Alaska. The majority of the accessions tested were landrace materials. We will replant those most promising this fall in an attempt to increase the growing season. In addition, we will seek cold tolerant, short season cultivars/breeding lines to test their potential in Alaska for both fall and spring planting. Alaska SARU is open to collaboration for those wishing to test such varieties.