21 www.seed.ab.ca | spring.2019 acceptable moisture where your chances of damaging that seed are minimized. Producers can try to cater their operations and their handling processes to that.” That includes storing the seed. Moisture is almost unavoidable as grain or seed cools down inside a bin in the winter and dampness circulates down from the sides of the bin and up through the centre of it. Rosaasen stresses that while it’s a challenge, it’s not an insurmountable one. “You’ll always get some moisture issues within bins because you’ve got those warmer sides,” he says. “That’s why it’s important to move your grain. Make sure that you have the ability to aerate and put air or wind through the grain that keeps the moisture moving out of the top of the bin and not allow it to build in spots.” Another important quality factor to consider is something referred to as earth tag. That is when dust or even natural fungus breaks down plant material and adheres to the seed coat. In the case of yellow or green peas, it can show up as a slight discolouration on the seed coat. It often occurs when pea plants have been laid down by strong winds or a heavy rainfall. The bad news, Rosaasen says, is that it’s virtually impossible to clean off of seed. Gregg says one of the simplest, and most effective, ways of preventing mechanical or cleaning damage to pulse seed is for growers to examine their entire production chain to see where it can or does occur and determine what can be done to reduce or eliminate any damage. Analyzing your Processes “Analyze your processes so that you are aware [of potentially damaging operations]. Some things you can’t avoid but there are things you can do to minimize exposure to damage-causing incidents. Monitor your operation and try to cater it to the best outcome,” he adds. APG has recently stepped up its efforts to provide growers in the province with information on what they need to know when it comes to pulses. In conjunction with Lakeland College Applied Research it now offers a Pulse Agronomy Field School that caters to producers who already grow pulses as well as those who haven’t done so in a few years and offers information on everything from basic agronomy topics to seed treatment for pea leaf weevil management. It’s also partnered with the Alberta barley, canola and wheat commissions as part of Making the Grade, a hands-on, one-day grading course for farmers and others employed in the agricultural sector. As part of the course’s pulse grading section, farmers are provided with information on techniques and best management practices to minimize splits, cracks and other quality concerns to maximize the value they receive for their pulse crops. “We’ve had excellent feedback and demand for more workshops,” Rosaasen says. Jim Timlick The most common piece of advice Gregg offers to growers is to reduce exposure to any potentially damage-causing incidents, and limit their severity, whether its rotating mechanical parts, impact from high drops or just gravity acceleration.