Aphanomyces root rot has spread across all pea growing regions of the UK and is not restricted to fields with a history of frequent pea cultivation, according to new research.
Brian O’Loinsigh, who conducted the research at the University of Nottingham as part of his PhD project, said to date there were no effective fungicides to combat the disease and no pea varieties fully resistant to it. “The disease is spread by the movement of infected material and infected soil by heavy machinery.”
Mr O’Loinsigh’s research looked at 68 fields over two seasons in the pea growing regions of East Scotland, East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Aphanomyces euteiches was found in more than 60 per cent of fields sampled.
The aim is to develop a bioassay test to detect the presence of inoculum in fields so growers can avoid growing peas in infected fields. The pathogen can survive in soils for up to 10 years.
Additional research is looking at sampling before drilling and during flowering, comparing areas with high and low disease burdens and examining the effect of compaction and soil water content on the disease.