Peas and beans – old friends and lots to choose

3 January 1997

Peas and beans – old friends and lots to choose

NO new field pea varieties made it to the Recommended List this year, reflecting the strength of the current choice, according to NIABs Tim Green.

"We already have a range of good types to suit all markets."

For animal feed there are now eight fully recommended varieties, three in the provisional category and one becoming outclassed.

Baccara still leads the field with a yield rating of 107. "Straw strength could be a worry on fertile sites or in wet years. With a rating of 6 for downy mildew, a seed dressing will usually be required."

Other established varieties Alfetta (105) and Montana (102) offer short straw of reasonable standing ability combined with early maturity. Grafila (102) stands well despite longer straw, which should be a benefit on drought-prone land, says Mr Green. Chorale (106), Carrera and Eiffel (both 104) become fully recommended for this season. "Carrera has short straw with good standing ability. Chorale has long straw but stands well, but a 6 for downy mildew resistance means a seed treatment will probably be needed."

Eiffel, also long-strawed, stands exceptionally well, though is susceptible to pea wilt. "It should not be grown on land with a known risk," says Mr Green. Neither Eiffel nor Carrera, with downy mildew ratings of 8, should need seed treatment for the disease, he adds.

Short-strawed Solara (97), first listed a decade ago, is the only fully recommended large blue variety. "It still retains a large market share despite being outclassed on yield. Good straw characters, reliable performance and premiums for good quality samples have ensured a loyal following."

Focus (105), Elan and Hampton (both 103), remain provisionally recommended for a second year. "Focus is short-strawed and stands well, but would probably require seed treatment. Elan is agronomically similar to Solara but higher yielding. Hampton has slightly longer, weaker straw and would be more suited to lighter land." Arena (98), with poor downy mildew resistance, is becoming outclassed.

The marrowfat market has seen few changes in recent years. Quality premiums are vital to offset lower yields, so agronomy measures must be tailored to produce bold samples free from waste and stain, says Mr Green.

Maro (89) remains the only fully recommended variety suitable for canning, Guido (87) and Bunting (86) having been moved to the outclassed category. Princess (93) remains popular for the packet trade, says Mr Green, but Progreta (93) is becoming outclassed.

Small-seeded Celica (98) continues for a second year in the provisional category. "It is a semi-leafless marrowfat which has produced high yields. Canning quality has been variable and further com- mercial evaluation is taking place."

The PGROs Geoffrey Gent is cautious about Celica. "The trade have reported substantial problems with crops from the 1996 harvest." Merchants experience should be sought for this season, he advises.


NIABs Tim Green in Celica, one of the newer marrowfat peas, whose quality is under scrutiny after problems with the 1996 crop. The variety yielded well, according to the Processors and Growers Research Organisation, but some commercial samples failed to rehydrate or cook properly. Supplier, Seed Innovations, believes one explanation is that crops were left in the ground too long and became affected by the intense summer drought.

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