14 September 2001

Late planting leads to a surge in rhizomania

FEARS that late sugar beet planting into warm wet soils would lead to a surge in new rhizomania outbreaks seem set to be realised.

As of Monday, with less than half the crops identified for ground inspection by aerial photos checked, the toll of new outbreaks had already reached nine. That compares to last years total of 13 new farms affected by the disease.

"We are probably looking at a higher final figure than last year," admits Steve Ashby of DEFRAs plant health division.

Updates on the diseases spread and survey work can be found in the "Whats New" section at www.defra.gov.uk/planth/phindx.htm &#42