2 November 2001

Farm-saved bean seed at worm risk

BEWARE if you farm-save autumn or spring bean seed, warns John Ebbage Seeds.

The company says stem nematodes in crops grown for certified seed have increased dramatically and it has had to reject 20% of samples.

The pest can cut yields by 40% and reduce grain value by 30%, warns the firms Stuart Cree. "There is no statutory requirement to get bean seed tested for stem nematode. Nor is there a seed treatment or nematicide to prevent stem nematode taking hold in a crop."

Sowing infected seed into clean land can leave a nematode problem for up to 10 years, he warns. "The only answer is to buy certified seed or be extra vigilant when checking farm-saved seed."

About 10% of this seasons bean samples tested for the pest by PGRO have been infested. Testing is important because there is no tolerance level for infested seed, says senior technical officer Becky Ward. &#42