22 October 1999

Less light leaf spot

LIGHT leaf spot in winter rape should be less trouble this season, according to an HGCA-funded forecast.

Worst hit in England-Wales is likely to be the north with an average of 28% of plants infected at early stem extension. In East Anglia and the south-east the prediction is for only 2%.

"We reckon there should be 1-2% less than last year across the board," says ADAS pathologist Peter Gladders. That puts the west and east midlands on 15% and 5%, respectively, with the south on 4%. But the figures tend to over-estimate potential problems because of the trend to more autumn spraying, he notes.

But the forecasts are the mean of all crops, sprayed and unsprayed. "So some crops in East Anglia could still be badly affected." &#42