SPRING BEAN and pea growers must be alert to the continued dangers of downy mildew infection, warned the Processors and Growers Research Organisation (PGRO).

The potential impact of the disease on yields can be significant, but while a robust control programme is worthwhile, it can be expensive, said Anthony Biddle of the PGRO.

PGRO trials have found that even moderate disease incidence can affect spring bean yields by up to 30-35% and control is even more crucial for marrowfat peas, he said.

“All the marrowfat varieties are highly susceptible, and there‘s no cure if secondary infection spreads up the plant at flowering. Getting the crop off to a clean start is essential,” he said.

Fields previously cropped with peas or beans will be at highest risk from containing some soil-borne downy mildew, he noted.

Dr Biddle recommended growers use Wakil XL (cymoxanil + fludioxonil + metalaxyl-M) seed treatment, which has off label approval for use in beans.