Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Sunflower Improvement Research » Research » Research Project #435796

Research Project: Building a Better Lentil from the Ground Up

Location: Sunflower Improvement Research

Project Number: 3060-21220-034-016-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2018
End Date: Aug 31, 2024

Root rot is a major threat to the lentil industry in the United States and worldwide. Lentil is a $200 million industry uniquely adapted to the arid High Plains and Pacific Northwest, an area of the country with low crop diversity and few economical crop options to support rural communities. In addition to direct economic benefits, lentil drives reduction of unsustainable summer fallow acres, increases soil health, and decreases synthetic nitrogen fertilizer use. The long-term goal of this project is to provide integrated pest management (IPM)-based options for prevention and management of root rot, develop disease-resistant cultivars, learn more about how agronomic practices interact with plant nutrition and disease, increase the sustainability of the pulse crop industry, and facilitate training and education of the next generation of growers and scientists including underserved audiences. The team working on this proposal has a long history of working together productively, producing research and extension outcomes that impact growers, and a tight connection with the industry.

Working with collaborators on the project team, agronomic field trials will be conducted in artificially Fusarium-infested fields in Montana (Bozeman, Havre, Moccasin) and North Dakota (Carrington, Hettinger, Minot), and one non-infested field in Sidney, MT. Studies will include four sub-objectives: a) Fertility (nitrogen, potassium, and sulfur); b) Rolling timing and seeding density (Bozeman, Havre, and Moccasin only); c) Fungicidal seed treatments; and d) evaluation of disease susceptibility of cultivars and advanced lines. For agronomic trials a-c, agronomic data will include plant density, plant height, days to flowering and maturity, seed yield, seed protein, seed size, and marginal economic returns to inoculant and fertilizer inputs. Disease will be assessed using a standard root disease severity (RDS) index. In addition, lentil seed will be analyzed for nutritional quality. Seed mineral concentrations will be determined on microwave digested samples using inductively coupled plasma - optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES). Seed protein and fiber will be measured with a nitrogen analyzer or established AOAC methods, respectively. In Year 1, all seed from all plots will be analyzed (1285 plots). Seed available from the survey will also be analyzed. Data from Year 1 will be used to narrow down seed mineral analysis for Years 2-4 and an increased number of seed samples will be used for fiber analysis.