EARLY CONTROL of major vining pea diseases in wet seasons can pay dividends for the quality pea market, according to one Montrose-based grower.

Despite having over 350% of the typical August rainfall during the main harvesting period, earlier fungicide applications helped protect pea quality, said East Coast Viners manager, Fred Richardson.

Earlier applications for diseases such as Botrytis and Sclerotinia enabled them to meet the quality criteria required for the premium Speedy Pea market, he believed.

“Even with the lack of sunlight we were able to maintain pea quality remarkably well through the harvesting period,” he said.

Mr Richardson applied Amistar (azoxystrobin) between full flowering and pod set, which particularly helped in controlling Sclerotinia – a disease that tends to hit earlier, he said.

In contrast, past fungicide applications were made through the pod set stage, primarily for Botrytis control, he said.

“In a drier year we may focus fungicide treatments on the later crops, which are going to be subject to a higher risk of wet weather as the season progresses.”

But with over 2200ha of vining peas to cover, starting fungicide applications earlier did improve the chances of physically being able to cover large acreages at the optimum time, Mr Richardson added.