The 2018 season has been described as challenging. Challenging for farmers and growers, yes, but also challenging for crops and varieties being evaluated. Spring cropping was perhaps more challenging with delayed sowing because of wet conditions in the spring, followed by a heatwave and near drought conditions in mid-summer. This has impacted on yield and quality. Within the Pulse Recommended Lists the mean yields of the control varieties from 2018 have been below the 5-year average, with winter beans 19.3% lower, spring beans 23.4% lower and peas 15.6% lower. While this is disappointing (but not unexpected in a year when all arable crops experienced a difficult season), neither were the yields a disaster, and shows the resilience of the crops to challenges presented to them (and perhaps more resilient than thought to be).
The over-winter period was relatively cold with several frost periods. At the Stubton site, down to -6.9°C on the 28 February, but the winter beans survived. The spring was wet, which delayed drilling of many trials. The summer period was one of the hottest and driest on record.
Six trials went through to harvest. 2018 trial yields (3.74t/ha) were down on the 5-year (4.43t/ha) average. Highest yields as in 2016 came from Hampshire at 4.73t/ha. Levels of foliar disease were low.
White-seeded variety Karpate gains a full recommendation for 2019. Yields at 104% are just 2% lower than the top yielding white pea Manager, which moves from P1 to P2 recommendation. Manager rates a 7 for downy mildew, one point ahead of Karpate. Kareni (101% yield) remains with a full recommendation, while Mascara a long standing joint yield standard is moved to the becoming outclassed. Large blues LG Stallion and Vertix gain a full recommendation for 2019, giving yields close to the large blue standard Prophet. Bluetime, Karioka and Blueman all progress from P1 to P2 recommendation. Bluetime tops the yield rankings at 108% with yields from Karioka (105%) and Blueman (103%) a little lower. The downy mildew rating of Blueman slips from 9 to 8, but is still the top rated variety for the disease. Mankato (KWS) and Croft (LS Plant Breeding) with yields of 105% and 102% respectively gain a P1 recommendation for 2019. Prophet, Bluetooth, Kingfisher and Daytona all remain with a full recommendation. Small blue Greenwood gains a full recommendation for 2019. Mantara and Rose remain as fully recommended Maple peas and Aikido and Sakura remain as fully recommended Marrowfats.
Beans established well in the autumn and survived several periods of hard frosts. Foliar disease pressure was low, but black bean aphid and bruchid infestation was higher this year. 2018 yields (4.23t/ha) were a little lower than the 5-year average of 5.24t/ha. Five trials were harvested and the top yielding site was in Herefordshire at 5.3t/ha.
There is little change within the winter beans for 2019, but Vespa moves from P1 to P2 recommendation. Yields at 103% are just 1% lower than top yielding variety Tundra. Tundra, Bumble, Wizard and Honey all remain with a full recommendation.
Seven trials were taken through to harvest, with the highest and the lowest yields coming from two trials in North Yorkshire. 2018 trial yields 4.0t/ha were lower than the 5-year (5.24t/ha) average. As with winter beans, foliar disease pressure was low, but black bean aphid and bruchid infestation was higher this year.
A new sub-category of pale hilum beans has been introduced for spring beans: Low Vicine/Convicine (LVC). Vicine and convicine are anti-nutritional compounds that when present in high levels can give rise to favism in humans (those that have a deficiency in the activity of a particular enzyme) and can give performance issues when fed in animal feeds. Two new varieties Victus and Tiffany have been added in the LVC category of the RL with a P1 recommendation. Victus is the higher yielding of the two, matching the top yielding spring bean Lynx at 104%. Downy mildew rates just one point behind Lynx at 6. Tiffany is a little behind on yield, at 100%, with a downy mildew rating of 5. LG Cartouche gains a full recommendation for 2019. Yields are a little behind the best, but with the exception of Maris Bead, protein content is significantly higher than other beans. Mallory moves from P1 to P2 recommendation, giving yields similar to Vertigo (101%) and has a downy mildew rating similar to Lynx (7). Lynx, Fanfare, Vertigo Fuego and Maris Bead all remain fully recommended with their respective categories.
The RLs are based on a 5-year rolling averages and statistical adjustments are made for new varieties where they have not been in a in trial for five years. This 5-year period has seen significant differences in weather patterns and the resultant impact on yield and quality.