12 May 1995

Beet yellows risk

UP TO one third of sugar beet crops in the east could be infected with virus yellows this summer, following the early May heat-wave.

Hot weather encouraging an unusually early invasion of winged aphid vectors has led Brooms Barn to revise its disease forecast. In the eastern region 34% of plants could be infected in August if treatments are not spot on, according to researcher Dr Alan Dewar. In the west and north the expected infestations are 13% and 9% respectively.

More than double

"These figures are more than double the earlier prediction and mean that farmers will have to be even more vigilant than they might have been," says Dr Dewar.

Even before last weekend some spraying was needed in the West Midlands.

Many more crops were expected to reach the treatment threshold of one green, wingless aphid a plant this week, despite the return to cooler conditions.