19 June 1998

Ascochyta warning

ASCOCHYTA is damaging many winter bean crops this season, the PGRO warns farm-saved seed growers.

"The disease is widespread this year. If growers plan to home-save seed, they must get it tested," says technical officer Anthony Biddle.

Mr Biddle says that varieties with ascochyta tolerance, such as Target or Striker, will help limit yield losses and lodging, but he does not believe seed infection is the main cause of this years trouble.

Airborne spores coming from infected crop trash in autumn and winter, followed by favourable weather are to blame. Growers should bury trash and avoid fields next to previous crops to minimise infection risk, especially if growing for seed, he advises.

For commercial seed, testing is a statutory requirement, C2 standard requiring less than 1% infection. &#42