16 November 2001

Root madness on the march north

RHIZOMANIA has been found in Yorkshire for the first time.

The discovery, in an area previously thought free of the sugar beet disease, comes at the end of the 2001 survey by DEFRAs Plant Health Division which uncovered 68 new outbreaks, the worst ever annual increase.

"Its the furthest north case weve had," says the PHDs Steve Ashby. "Its not sufficiently close to the Nottinghamshire outbreaks for there to be an obvious link. We believe there are quite a few incidences of the disease still to be found."

But the precise location of the outbreak, and if it falls within the Yorks £5/t incentive area of the recent outgoers scheme, is unclear. &#42