A FARMER grower group is looking to beat the rising incidence of Sclerotinia in peas, a disease that can cause serious quality and contamination concerns for growers.

Gipping Valley Growers, a group of 25 farmers based near Stowmarket in Suffolk, has decided it will take action to insure against losses from the disease.

“Neighbouring grower groups reported serious problems (with Sclerotinia) last year,” reported GVG crop production manager Robert Lee.

The group will treat its entire pea area of some 700ha with Amistar (azoxystrobin) this season in an attempt to prevent significant Sclerotinia problems.

“We are also looking to reduce the level of Sclerotinia inoculum returning to the soil and preserving the long-term viability of vining pea production on our members‘ farms,” added Mr Lee.

The disease can cause staining of peas, taint plant tissues, as well as sclerotia capsules contaminating supplies.

This can potentially downgrade pea values “by up to £40/t” or at worst lead to crop rejection, said Mr Lee.

“If we can continue to supply the best quality peas, it will assure a greater volume can be supplied to the highest value markets.”

Milder and wetter springs are thought to have played a role in the rising Sclerotinia incidence.

The disease can affect a number of other crops including carrots, celery, oilseed rape and potatoes, according to Syngenta.

Pre-emptive action will break the disease cycle and also reduce the level of Sclerotinia inoculum in the soil, avoiding future problems, said the company.

In the past GVG growers had found Amistar worked well against Botrytis, Ascochyta, Mycosphaerella and other diseases affecting pea colour and quality.
Amistar has a Specific Off-label Approval for control of Sclerotinia in vining pea crops.

The Processors and Growers Research Organisation recommends rates are maintained at 1.0l/ha for the most effective control of the disease.