Stephen Belcher, PGRO principal technicalofficer, comments on the new PGRO voluntary Pulse Levy- funded RecommendedLists for peas and spring and winter beans.
Autumn 2012 was a very wet period and manywinter bean crops were not sown until the spring. The poor autumn weathermeant some OSR crops failed and the area of spring sown crops (in particularspring beans) benefited. The weather in 2013 was favourable to these latesowings and to spring sown pulse crops in general. Yields from springbeans were higher than average and quality generally good. Peas were alittle more variable, but overall yields and quality were good.
After the wet autumn, January experienced aparticularly cold period, but winter beans survived this well. Overallspring 2013 was the coldest since 1962 and temperatures only really recoveredin July. July however, saw a heat wave from 3 22 July which causedwilting in some bean crops. The spring was generally dry across the UK,but drilling in the East was delayed by a wet first 3 weeks of March. Thesummer was generally dry with favourable harvest conditions, particularly forpeas.
Overall trial yields (5.58t/ha) of peas werea little up on the 5 year (5.02t/ha) average. Seven trials went throughto harvest, with yields ranging from 7.28t.ha in Essex to 4.42t/ha inCambridgeshire.
There are no changes in the white peacategory with Salamanca, Mascara and Gregor all remaining fullyrecommended. Similarly in the Large blues, Crackerjack, Prophet andDaytona remain with a full recommendation. Stratford continues with asecond year provisional recommendation (P2) and has the best rating for downymildew resistance (8).
New to the List for 2014 is Campus. Large blue Campus (LS Plant Breeding) just pips Crackerjack as the top yieldingvariety on the list and combines a very high score (8) for standing abilitywith a moderate rating for downy mildew resistance.
Fully Recommended maple peas Mantara and Roseare joined on the list by Rainbow with a P1 recommendation. Rainbow (IARAgri) gives similar yields to Rose and larger produce. Pea colour isdifferent to either Rose or Mantara.
In the marrowfat category Sakura, Neon andGenki remain fully recommended varieties, while Bibao moves from P1 to P2recommendation. With the withdrawal of Hawaii from the list by thebreeder there are no small blues in that category.
In the wet autumn of 2012, 4 out of 6 winterbeans were sown. Unlike 2012 season, levels of chocolate spot were muchlower this year. 2013 trial yields (4.95t/ha) were higher than the 5 year(4.34t/ha) average and much higher than 2012 (3.51t/ha).
In recent years there has been little changein winter bean varieties, but for 2014, two new varieties were added to thelist.
In the pale hilum category, Honey now joinsWizard as a fully recommended variety, while Sultan moves from fullyrecommended to outclassed.
New to this category for 2014, with a 1styear provisional recommendation (P1) is Tundra. Tundra (Limagrain UK) is thehighest yielding in this this category and has a good all round agronomicpackage, but produce is a little smaller than Wizard.
In the black hilum (feed bean) category,Clipper and Arthur remain fully recommended varieties. Joining these for2014 with a P1 recommendation is Buzz. Buzz (Wherry and Sons) is a littlelower yielding than Clipper or Arthur and sits between these two for earlinessand shortness of straw. Standing ability is better however, and producehas a very large thousand seed weight.
Last year I wrote that it was an excitingtime for spring beans, and indeed the two new high yielding varieties newlyrecommended in 2012 have not let us down in 2103. Trial yields (5.58t/ha)were better than the 5 year average (5.02t/ha). Levels of downy mildewwere much lower than in 2012.
In the pale hilum category Fury, Pyramid,Fuego and Babylon all remain Fully Recommended varieties, while Boxer gains afull recommendation for 2014.
Progressing from P1 to P2 recommendation areVertigo and Fanfare. Vertigo is the top yielding variety, significantlyout-yielding Fuego, while Fanfare is a little behind Vertigo. Downy mildewfor these varieties is mediocre (4) compared to Fury and Pyramid (6) andBabylon (7).
Finally, tic bean Maris Bead deserves amention for achieving 50 years on the Recommended List (1964 to 2104). Wethink this a unique occurrence and one that may not be repeated.
2013 has seen an increased area of springbeans, good yields and good quality. With need for break crops in therotation and good new varieties in the pipeline we hope to see this trendcontinue into 2014 and beyond.