2 August 2002

Rust hits beet in east

SUGAR beet growers in Lincs and the Fens are being advised to watch out for rust.

The disease is the third agronomic problem to hit crops in the area, after the early appearance of mildew and a mysterious yellowing that has left experts "baffled".

Farmacy agronomists have found high levels of rust in crops, particularly in the variety Latoya.

Sulphur products and Fortress (quinoxyfen), used for mildew control, do not control the disease, warns the firms Pam Chambers. Control requires a triazole fungicide.

Rust is usually dismissed as not being of economic importance and many varieties have a resistance rating of five or above. But Latoya, Wildcat and all the provisionally recommended rhizomania-tolerant varieties are susceptible.

The important point is that the disease, characterised by reddish-brown spots on the leaves, is not normally expected until mid to late August, says Mrs Chambers. &#42