The pyraclostrobinand boscalid-based product by BASF is already fully approved for use in a range of brassicas, carrots and beans. Dr Anthony Biddle, technical director of Processors & Growers Research Organisation (PGRO), said the new approval is a timely welcome for pea growers as the level of disease risk could be higher this year - thanks to the cold weather and the fact that one-third of vining peas are grown in Scotland.
He said: "Later-drilled crops tend to be at higher risk as they reach the right growth stage when the weather is right for disease development. Disease risk is higher when it is wetter. It is important that combining and vining pea growers should assess their disease risk and consider their options, including the newly approved Signum, ahead of the game."
He explains that in combining peas the main diseases to look out for are leaf and pod spot (Mycosphaerella pinodes and Ascochyta pisi). Combining peas, particularly marrow fats, also commonly suffer from powdery mildew when the weather is warm and dry.
Vining peas mainly suffer from Botrytis, leaf and pod spot and rarely Sclerotinia.
Pulse Marketing specialist for BASF Jonathan Ball said: "Signum is already a well-known and widely used product in pulses, where it controls chocolate spot (Botrytis cinerea and B. fabae) and rust (Uromyces fabae) in spring and winter beans. If wet weather builds disease development flares up and spraying action will be needed.
"Disease can affect yield by as much as 30 per cent," according to the PGRO, and the quality of peas, particularly when (conditions are) damp and humid at flowering."
In trials Signum reduced the level of leaf and pod spot on the bottom of plants from 91.2 per cent to 54.6 per cent. Ball added that a 0.5 kg/ha application of Signum in between the flowering and "first pods" stages resulted in a 16 per cent yield increase compared to the untreated crop. Signum also gave better control of powdery mildew than the standards."