Historically in the UK, foot rot in pea crops has been caused by Fusarium spp. and Didymella pinodella but now another fungus is meaning it is even more important to control the spread of this destructive disease.
Dr Lea Wiesel, plant pathologist with the Processors and Growers Research Organisation (PGRO), says, “Now another very destructive pathogen, Aphanomyces euteiches, has been adding to the foot-rot complex. This is a soil-borne oomycete that produces long-lasting resting spores that can survive in soils for more than 10 years, and even low numbers of resting spores can have devastating effects on yields. Once a field is infected, it can’t be used for pea cropping for at least a decade.”
To help growers, PGRO has developed a new laboratory test to assess risk levels for the disease in soils, so that growers can make informed decisions about cropping. A 2kg soil sample taken in a W pattern across the field should be collected, and the cost of each test is £149. Dr Wiesel advises that samples are sent 12-18 months before planned planting in order for cropping plans to be revised if necessary.
Photo Caption: Dr Lea Wiesel
Photo Credit: PRGO