Berelex update for rhubarb growers

Growers of rhubarb, favourite of celebrity chef Delia Smith, are dealing with a less glamorous but more important news angle on the vegetable.

The natural plant-growth regulator Berelex has a new MAPP number, but is still recommended to improve the yield of rhubarb.

Berelex, based on the natural growth hormone gibberellic acid, was used in rhubarb, celery and pears, said Dr David Stormonth, technical manager and Interfarm (UK).

Stormonth said in rhubarb, "made even more popular this year by Delia Smith", Berelex was used to advance cropping and increase yield. In forced crops it reduced cold-treatment requirements and increased earliness and yield.

"Crops are being given a naturally occurring product they produce themselves but at a slightly earlier stage. It's a very simple trick, especially useful after a tough winter."

In celery its use increases head size and yield, and in pears it improves fruit set when blossom is sparse, setting conditions are poor or frost has killed most of the flowers.

The product also has a SOLA in outdoor cherries and cherries under rain cover to reduce fruit drop between fruit set and harvest.

Growers need to obtain a copy of the notice of approval to use Berelex in cherries via the Chemicals Regulation Directorate, ADAS, HDC or NFU. The SOLA reference number is 1072 of 2009.


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