Becky Ward, PGRO principal technical officer, comments on winter and spring bean disease control, bean seed fly, pea moth and post-emergence herbicide applications ...
Winter bean disease control
Winter beans are just starting to develop first flowers in some areas. There have been no reports of chocolate spot yet, but the current unsettled weather may encourage the disease. If disease appears in crops, fungicides should be applied to protect new growth. If disease pressure is high and weather remains unsettled, use full rates of fungicides. Reduced rates will not give adequate protection.
Spring bean disease control
There have been reports of early downy mildew in spring bean crops, encouraged by the cool, unsettled weather. Plants develop pale patches on the surface, with grey-mauve fluffy mycelium on the underside of leaves. Crops should be treated when a threshold of 20% of the tops of plants are infected. See the monitoring website www.cropmonitor.co.uk for current downy mildew forecasts.
Bean seed fly
Where drilling is delayed, weeds may have become well established and, particularly where weeds have not died off sufficiently before drilling, there may be a high risk of attack by bean seed fly.
Bean seed fly attacks later drilled peas and beans (May and June), and are attracted to fields with high levels of green material left in the soil. The larvae tunnel into seeds and stems causing the seedlings to die off or become severely deformed. There are currently no insecticidal seed treatments approved for use in peas in the UK, although some imported vining pea seed may be treated with thiomethoxam, and here the insecticide will reduce the risk of damage.
Otherwise control may be improved through cultural means – ensuring that green material in the soil is minimised by adequate weed control.
Pea moth traps should be ordered now ready for placing in crops at the end of May. Traps should be placed in early crops of peas as soon as possible. See PGRO Technical Update 149 (available at www.pgro.org) for details. The spray information telephone line will be available from the end of May on 01780 783099. Traps are available from Oecos. Tel: 01438 832481
Post-emergence herbicide applications
Bentazone is only available in beans. Bentazone and MCPB are options in peas. Unless known susceptible varieties are being grown - i.e. those noted as such on the label - the newer varieties that do not appear on the label cope well.
Sensitivity scores were based on full rate applications - these days few apply full rates. At the more common half rate bentazone - with the option of a second application in beans - few crop issues are reported.
Checking there is adequate leaf wax on peas is important as both bentazone and MCPB are mainly contact materials.
The future of pulses in the UK seems bright. Pulses crops in the UK have delivered the highest gross margin on many farms in the last couple of years and this could well continue.
International interest in pulses is rising. EU focus on protein production and protein demand is increasing in the face of rising demand and ever-growing issues around importation and reliance upon soya. Wider International recognition of the importance and benefits of pulses in diet, the environment, and agricultural rotations is heightened. With 2016 declared the UN’s ‘International Year of Pulses’, the profile of these crops is on the rise.
The UK producers are able, with attention to detail, to deliver product of the highest quality, and meet international export requirements, putting UK pulses in strong demand and providing a potentially very bright future.
In France, the crop area is down significantly in 2013. Overall, the low temperatures to date have delayed crop development too. Pea exports are roughly half that of the previous year, with an increase in domestic use in animal feed, reflecting the price of imported protein. Bean exports rose slightly with increases to both Egypt for human consumption and Norway.
Australia and Canada have contrasting concerns. Australian acreage is currently exposed to dry conditions, and in Canada the long late winter looks like spring sowing may be delayed - lying snow is still significant and will also have an impact as it melts. It is too early to say if any of these environmental conditions will impact supply come new crop harvest, but indicate that yields are unlikely to be over average at best.
The market was very quiet if not quite dead through the month, with a slight increase in activity in the latter days. Offers are short as any sellers of Human Consumption quality are reluctant to take the lower price of the feed market at this stage. Where trade is to be found, there is still a healthy premium available over feed wheat.
Human Consumption Beans
Export markets seem satisfied - temporarily at least. Political instability and Egyptian currency issues continue to worsen, and looking forwards this may have an influence on their ability to pay for imports from new crop. Demand will be high as the new crop materialises, but payment will be key and will have an influence on new crop prices. Buying what can be afforded may be the expedient message, perhaps with buyers looking at all their alternatives. New interest is not expected until after Ramadan at the earliest.
The message has to be pay attention to detail on your new crop. Take heed of the advice and control windows for bruchid beetle and focus on producing good yields of high quality beans. Put yourself in the ideal position to take advantage of market demand when it arises.
Indications are that UK peas of all types are likely to be in a short position following harvest 2013. New crop will be in demand and carry a premium price. The UK will again be a net importer 2013/2014 and yet the international supply position is not certain. Good quality peas will remain in demand.
New crop interest from China is expressed. This follows good quality exports in recent times and rising demand for UK crop. The interest is largely for snack products. With no blue peas , marrowfats continue to be utilised by Micronisers.
It has been clear for some months now that new crop marrowfat and blue peas will be in demand and should continue to command good prices - an encouragement for area to expand in the years ahead. They look likely to remain in a short position for some time to come.