New crop to fight phoma plight

OILSEED RAPE growers have another option in the fight against phoma, following the release of a new multi-gene phoma resistant variety.

Es Astrid‘s resistance to phoma infection is controlled by several genes, which reduce the risk of a pathogen undergoing enough mutations to overcome the plant‘s resistance, claimed John Hardy of Suffolk based breeders, Grainseed.

“The commercial longevity of a new variety is generally dictated by how well that gene selection stands up to the constant adaptation of the disease pressure.”

In trials, the variety recorded a Home Grown Cereals Authority rating of 7.4 for phoma resistance, said Mr Hardy.

“The results tend to suggest that the multi-gene resistance has an effect.”

“But in practice, we‘ll only see how well it works when the variety‘s out in the field and there‘s some severe disease pressure.”

Es Astrid performed well for canker resistance in trials, said Jane Thomas from NIAB.

“It is certainly comparable to varieties such as Canberra.”

“If it [Es Astrid] is a multi-gene variety, it stands a good chance of holding resistance for longer,” she added.

But the test will be how well it performs in the field over a period of time she agreed.