New pea, winter bean and spring bean varieties have proven their value in trials

The Processors and Growers Research Organisation (PGRO) has added 11 new pea and bean varieties to its 2024 Descriptive List for pulses.

PGRO has added new varieties

PGRO has added new varieties

A total of six combining peas, two winter beans and three spring beans have completed the requisite number of years in trials and demonstrated the necessary qualities for inclusion, PGRO said.

Funded by the PGRO Pulse Levy, the Descriptive List trials are conducted annually at sites located in the major production areas. Summary data is based on a five-year rolling average to take account of seasonal variations.

The data gives growers the opportunity to compare different varieties and evaluate which will suit their situation. Promising new material from plant breeders is regularly submitted and those which suit the market and have traits of interest are likely to be supported and available for purchase in the future.

PGRO senior technical officer Dr Chris Judge launched the 2024 list this week during a webinar attended by almost 100 farmers, breeders, agronomists and industry stakeholders.

He explained that despite going through heatwaves, cold snaps and a wide variety of temperatures and conditions, trials were conducted successfully and the varieties grown across the country demonstrated good consistency in terms of yield and impressive disease resistance.

“The control yield for peas, spring beans and winter beans were all very similar to the 2023 Descriptive List,” Judge said. “Looking at the five years currently used in the datasets, yields were slightly down in 2023 compared to 2022 for all three pulse groups.”

The new varieties added are as follows:

New combining pea varieties

Two yellow combining peas – Concerto (LS Plant Breeding) and Batist (Senova) – are the new top-yielding varieties producing 115 and 113 per cent of the control respectively. KWS Flam is the other new yellow pea, yielding 110 per cent.

Pink peas

A new pink pea category has been created for the Descriptive List to accommodate the new variety Flamingo (Cope Seeds & Grain). In trials it was the lowest-yielding pea listed (78 per cent).

Green peas

Shazam (Senova) and Reacher (IAR Agri) are the two green peas making their debut on the list, and both have good all-round qualities in terms of yield and disease resistance.


Elsoms Seeds is the UK agent for a new marrowfat variety, Vision, which has become the highest yielder in that category, achieving 100 per cent of the control.

Winter and spring beans

In 2023 many winter bean trials struggled with frost damage after two cold snaps in short succession last winter. Despite this, harvest conditions were good in the summer and two new varieties – LG Arctic (Limagrain) and Ninja (Senova) – have completed their ascent to the Descriptive List.

Conversely, spring bean trials suffered in the heat, PGRO reported. The hotter-than-average June led to similar yields to 2022 when heatwaves also struck during key stages of crop development. Synergy (Saaten Union) is the highest yielding of the three varieties entering the list for 2024 (107 per cent), closely followed by Navara (Senova) which yielded 106 per cent, and LG Hawk (Limagrain) which returned 101 per cent.

Combining Peas

Concerto (115 per cent) and Batist (113 per cent) are the new top-yielding yellow peas.

Concerto joins LG Ajax and new variety Flamingo in having a downy mildew rating of 7, just behind Rivoli which has an 8.

New addition KWS Flam has a yield of 110 per cent.

Flamingo is the first pink pea and has the lowest yield.

New green pea Shazam is a later-maturing variety with the joint tallest straw and a standing ability of 7.

New addition Reacher has resistance genes for pea seed-borne mosaic virus and and joins LG Aviator as the only green peas with resistance to powdery mildew.

Carrington (LS Plant Breeding) remains the top-yielding green pea at 111 per cent.

Both Carrington and Bluetime have a rating of 8 for downy mildew.

Mantara and Rose remain the only two maple peas on the Descriptive List. Both have high levels of protein and good resistance to downy mildew.

New variety Vision becomes the top-yielding marrowfat with a yield of 100 per cent and has the best downy mildew rating for any marrowfat (7).

Winter Beans

New addition LG Arctic has an above-average yield at 104 per cent and has the joint highest downy mildew rating on the list (6).

Ninja is a new early maturing variety for the 2024 Descriptive List. As well as having the earliest maturity (8) it has the highest protein content of all winter beans.

Vespa continues to have the top yield (109 per cent), with Vincent performing second best (107 per cent).

Most winter bean varieties have scored a 5 for chocolate spot, with Vincent (6) and Vespa (7) having higher ratings.

Spring Beans

Synergy is a new low-vicine and low-convicine variety (LVC) and is higher yielding than the other two LVC varieties, Futura and Victus.

New varieties Navara and LG Hawk have yields of 106 and 101 per cent respectively.

Genius remains the top yielding variety with 108 per cent.

Yukon has the best downy mildew rating (8) and is the earliest maturing variety.

Maris Bead and LG Viper have good resistance to downy mildew (7), and LG Viper is also the top-rated variety for rust.