22 December 2000

Check spring pulses

SPRING pulses must be checked extra carefully before re-drilling as last harvests tricky conditions could have affected viability, warns PGRO.

"The samples weve tested have had very variable germination," says technical director Anthony Biddle.

He recommends all pea and bean seed is professionally tested for germination and ascochyta.

"Chitting seed on wet towels in the airing cupboard is a good guide, but you wont see whether the root and shoot development is normal."

Ascochyta infection has generally been low in both peas and beans, but some high infection levels have been found in pea samples from the north and west. If infection is over 5% in peas a Hy-TL (thiabendazole + thiram) seed treatment should be used.

In beans seed treatments are less effective against aschochyta and should only be used at 1-3% infection levels. Over that and the beans should not be used for seed, he advises.

If free from infection, beans may be drilled without dressing, but that is not advisable for peas due to the risk of damping off, he continues. Thiram seed treatment should be used as standard.

"Mobile cleaning and treating costs £30-35/t including Thiram." Hy-TL adds about £50/t and Apron Combi (metalaxyl + thiabendazole + thiram), which may be required for downy mildew susceptible varieties such as the marrowfats, about £100/t.

While no treatment is available for it, growers should also have bean seed tested for stem nematode. "It has been pest of the year, over 10% of samples have been infested. If it is present, then you do not want to plant that seed." &#42