Check Closer – It Might be Sunscald

Sunscald has been appearing in some fields in many areas. It is important to diagnose because sunscald can make the plant appear riper that it actually is. Always examine seed colour change to determine maturity for timing of swathing. Sunscald occurs when plants are ripening during periods of stress such as heat. The main symptom is purpling on the stems and pods. The purpling is an abiotic stress response caused by periods of stress when the plants are ripening. The purpling is likely due to higher levels of anthocyanin pigment and a lack of chlorophyll in the naturally senescing tissue and often shows up more in some varieties than others. Confirm sunscald by checking the underside of the pods or branches (areas not exposed to the sun) for normal pod colour.