19 June 1998

Pea blight was worst ever seen

BACTERIAL blight in winter peas this season was the worst ever seen and could force a rethink on seed sources and crop siting, says the PGRO.

Technical officer Anthony Biddle says: "Damage can be so severe the crop is completely lost. We have seen crops ploughed in and linseed sown instead this year."

The disease invades damaged tissue and spreads unchecked in wet weather.

Frost damage at the bud stage last April is blamed for this years outbreak.

Growers are advised to ensure that seed is tested for the disease and to avoid drilling in frost pockets or fields prone to late frost. There is no chemical control and seed is the only source of infection, notes Mr Biddle. &#42