14 June 2002

Lots of pulses on the way

GROWERS can expect a wealth of new pulse varieties coming through RL trials this summer, says the PGRO.

"We are going to have some romping good yielding peas and what a good year it has been to test them in – the crops look fantastic" says PGROs Anthony Biddle.

Part of the reason for the boom in numbers is a change to the testing system which has removed the "RL nought" phase, notes colleague Steve Belcher. That means effectively two years new varieties are coming through the RL system at once.

"There are 16 or 17 new peas, one new winter bean and four spring beans up for recommendation."

In peas white flowered hardy, Cougar and Lumina are ones to watch and tannin-free Valeria looks interesting in the spring beans, he adds. &#42

Bean smith period?

Growers could soon have a Smith Period-type warning for downy mildew thanks to a three-year PGRO-funded project that concludes this year, says Dr Biddle. "We are hoping to pinpoint the optimum time for control. In the past we have been reasonably successful with our recommendations based on experience but now we are trying to back that up with science." NIAB and PGRO have done the disease and spray work at York, Spalding, Wye and Harper Adams in Shropshire while CSL are dealing with the meteorological data.