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Pulses Recommended Lists launched

The new 2016 PGRO Recommended Lists were announced at the CropTec event in late November

The new 2016 PGRO Recommended Lists for pulses were announced at the CropTec event in late November. Dominic Kilburn attended the launch.

A year for yield consolidation – particularly so for spring beans – is how PGRO principal technical officer Stephen Belcher summed up the new 2016 Pulse Recommended Lists for combining peas and winter and spring beans, announced at this year’s CropTec event in late November.
With “good but not spectacular” yield increases, one new winter bean, one new spring bean and three new pea varieties have been added to the Recommended Lists following a longer than usual growing season, said Mr Belcher. “The spring and summer of 2015 can be described as relatively cool with frequent and adequate amounts of rainfall.
“This gave a longer than normal growing season,” he added.

Winter beans
Pale hilum-type Bumble, marketed by Wherry & Sons, is the only addition to the Winter Bean RL and comes on with a 1st year provisional (P1) recommendation. Topping the List, Bumble yields 105 per cent and just above Tundra (104) which itself has performed well this year, said Mr Belcher.
“Although Bumble only has a 6 for standing ability at harvest, I have a gut feeling that it’s better than that and more like Wizard at 7. Its straw is a little longer than Wizard, more like black hilum-type Arthur, and it’s a little later to mature than Wizard too.
“Bumble also has a large seed size which is good for the splitting market,” he suggested.
Other pale hilum types include Tundra (now fully recommended) along with Wizard and Honey which both remain fully recommended.
Thor and Saracen have been withdrawn and Buzz not recommended. Arthur and Clipper remain fully recommended in the (feed) black hilum types.

Spring beans
New to the spring bean Recommended List is pale hilum variety Lynx (LSPB), which comes on as P1.
Not quite the top yielding variety on the List at 102 per cent, its yield equals Fanfare but sits just behind that of Vertigo (103).
Lynx has outstanding resistance to downy mildew (7) – joint highest with black hilum Maris Bead – which offers growers the potential to apply one less spray in a season compared with less resistant varieties, highlighted Mr Belcher.
“A high yielding variety, Lynx is a little later to mature than most spring beans and has good standing ability of 8,” he said.
“Vertigo and Fanfare have consolidated their yields this season with Vertigo considered as the yield standard alongside Fuego, but with a statistically higher yield advantage,” he added.
Fanfare, Boxer (98), Fury (98) and Fuego (97) remain fully recommended while Pyramid and Babylon have become outclassed.

Kareni is a new white pea from Senova coming on to the RL with a P1 recommendation. The highest yielding white pea (101), it has maturity a little later than Mascara but with similar straw length. According to Mr Belcher, the variety has good standing ability (7) and similar downy mildew resistance to Gregor (6).
Salamanca, Gregor and Mascara – all yielding 99 – remain fully recommended.
Also new to the List is Kingfisher (Limagrain), a large blue, which comes on as P1 and yields a little lower (98) than the best. Its maturity is later than Prophet, said Mr Belcher, and its straw length a little longer.
The variety has a good standing ability (7) and a smaller TSW than Prophet, he added.
Other large blues Prophet (101), Crackerjack (99) and Daytona (97) remain fully recommended, while Campus (99), which has an “excellent” rating of 8 for standing, gains full recommendation.
Bluetooth continues from P1 to second year P2 recommendation.
Marrowfat Aikido (LSPB) also comes in as P1 and is the highest yielding of those types (91), compared with Sakura (88) and Genki (83) which both remain fully recommended.
With maturity and straw length similar to Sakura, its standing ability (6) is a little better than Sakura (5), but its downy mildew resistance (4) is not as good.
Bean Yield Challenge
Also speaking at the event was PGRO chief executive Roger Vickers (left) who officially launched the organisation’s ‘Bean Yield Challenge’ – a competition for UK growers to try and produce a verified 10t/ha crop of winter or spring beans.
The competition will run annually up until 2020, or until the first 10t/ha crop is validated.
“It’s an ambitious challenge,” pointed out Mr Vickers. “But we think there were probably some un-verified crops either hitting the 10t/ha mark this season already, or quite close to it.
“There is excitement around the bean market at the moment and this competition is all about encouraging growers to become more engaged in the crop. The overall aim is to demonstrate that hitting those yields is possible and for growers getting lower yields it will prompt them to think about how to raise them,” he explained.
Mr Vickers said that he didn’t expect the 10t/ha target to be reached in the first year but there will be a prize awarded annually to the grower achieving the highest yields.
“On-farm average bean yields in the UK are around 4.5t/ha and so we think this will help realise more of the genetic potential of the crop,” he continued. “Feedback received by the PGRO will help address some of the key issues found in growing the crop as well as exchanging and publicising bean production best practices.”
The competition is open to all growers and includes crops planted this autumn. The winning prize includes a four-day/night tour in France for four people, including a visit to an R&D facility, and time spent in Paris.
A full set of rules and an entry form can be found on the PGRO website (

Year of the Pulses
BEPA president and Harlow Agricultural Merchants’ Chris Collings (left) reminded attendees that 2016 was the ‘International Year of Pulses’ – a global project highlighting the health, nutritional, sustainable and affordable benefits of pulse crops around the world. For more info go to:

PGRO 2015 Trials – average yields
Winter beans:Trial yields averaged 5.26t/ha – higher than the 5-year average of 4.71t/ha.
Spring beans:Trial yields averaged 6.28t/ha, 19.2 per cent higher than the 5-year average of 5.1t/ha.
Combining peas:Overall trial yields (5.67t/ha) were up on the 5-year (5.1t/ha) average. Six trials went through to harvest, with yields ranging from 6.64t/ha in Cambridgeshire to 4.67t/ha in Yorkshire.

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