Ascochyta Blight Discovered in Central Valley Garbanzo Beans

Brian GermanField & Row Crops, Industry

The presence of Ascochyta blight was confirmed in garbanzo bean fields in the Central Valley last month. Agronomy and Nutrient Management Advisor, Nick Clark said the discovery was made in the Five Points and Lemoore areas. While the disease has the potential to cause economic damage for growers, there are mitigation approaches available.

Ascochyta Blight

“We have azoxystrobin, boscalid, and pyraclostrobin that are registered for use in California garbanzos to control infection of Ascochyta leaf blight,” Clark explained. “Using foliar fungicides to control Ascochyta leaf blight doesn’t roll back the clock on infection and disease that’s already happened. It only works to help prevent new infection and new development of disease.”

Affected plants exhibit stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and dying stems, indicating the presence of the fungus. The disease thrives in cool and wet conditions, particularly during periods of rainfall, which have been prevalent in the area recently. The fungus spreads through spores produced on infected plants, which are then carried by rain splashes to nearby plants, initiating new infections. Preventative measures are crucial to managing Ascochyta blight effectively.

Using seed treatments specific to preventing disease, selecting resistant varieties, and implementing proper crop rotation practices can help growers prevent infection. Growers are also encouraged to reconsider their planting format to help reduce the likelihood of infection. “Rows that are a little bit more widely spaced in garbanzos also make it more difficult for the disease to take hold and to spread as fast. That’s another easy thing that growers can do if their equipment allows,” Clark noted.

Fields that end up with the disease can be more prone to infection in the future. It is important to fully incorporate plant residue into the soil after harvest so it breaks down quicker and prevents the fungus from remaining active. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources also has information available to assist growers with garbanzo production, including disease management approaches.

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West