1 December 1995

Several more choices for pulse growers

PULSE growers have several new recommended varieties to choose from, notable among them a winter bean, Target, which outyields Punch by 3% and has much stiffer straw.

The three spring bean novelties are all conventional tannin types. Maya, with a yield rating of 110 against Mars 102, represents a "big leap", but is very susceptible to a growing problem – downy mildew, warns NIABs Richard Fenwick.

Corvette and Aribo also have high yields (104 and 103 respectively) and good all round agronomic features, though Aribo is also prone to downy mildew.

Other market niches

With big strides being made among compounding peas, breeders are turning their attention to other market niches. All four varieties coming on to the 1996 list have good field characters. But only one, Focus, is purely for compounding.

A white, semi-leafless type, Focus (yield rated 107) stands better than the fully recommended Baccara (109). It is also reasonably short and early.

Elan and Hampton (both 104) are large blue, semi-leafless types for compounding and the growing micronising market. Both have good resistance to downy mildew. Elan, the shorter-strawed, is effectively an "improved Solara".

The semi-leafless Celica is "an exciting variety" which needs the backing of end users in the specialist human consumption market which has received relatively little breeding effort.

It is the top yielder of its type (rated 99 against Princesss 91) and has much better downy mildew resistance.