15 September 1995

PGROasochyta tests

CERTIFIED seed tests for ascochyta disease in field beans can be undertaken at the PGRO at "competitive fees" following moves to increase the number of laboratories accredited for the work.

Until this year all testing had to be carried out at Official Seed Testing Station at Cambridge, says the PGROs Dr Anthony Biddle. The change could help speed up collection of potential seed crops by merchants, he suggests. It also puts the UK seed trade on an even footing with the rest of Europe.

Ascochyta looked as though it was going to cause big problems last spring, but the hot summer dried up the disease, he says. Seed supplies should not be affected.

With no good fungicide control available the use of seed with a low level of infection is normally the main defence. C1 quality may contain no more than one infected bean in 500, he explains.