Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Think ahead to tackle T2 with latest fungicides

April 30, 2018 by  
Filed under Crops

Achieving the best possible protection from flag leaf T2 sprays  could be crucial to this season’s yields, says Syngenta business manager, Gareth Debenham.

At 43%, the flag leaf contributes more than any other leaf to winter wheat yield. Moreover, research has shown that wheat yield can increase by up to 0.15t/ha per day if green leaf area is maintained at 37% or above from flowering onwards.

“Even if the flag leaf looks clean at the T2 timing – typically in May or sometimes early June – it’s still essential to remember that you’re not just looking to control disease that’s present at that time,” stresses Mr Debenham.

“Instead, you’re also aiming to future-proof the flag leaf against diseases that can strike after T2. In the Midlands, wheat can be exposed to all three major disease problems – of Septoria tritici plus yellow and brown rusts.

Risk factors

“What’s more, risk factors that were decided much earlier in the season – such as variety and drilling date – can still have an impact on disease development from T2 onwards, and the weather plays a huge part. At this time of the season, it’s important to be thinking ahead.”

Mr Debenham says there is a strong correlation between levels of Septoria infection and the amount of rainfall that occurs during both April and May. In addition, higher temperatures later in the season cause Septoria and rust infections to cycle faster, he adds.

Septoria tritici challenge has become increasingly difficult to cure following shifts in its sensitivity to azole fungicides which once formed the backbone of fungicide programmes. This makes it important to also build-in other chemistry, such as an SDHI and Bravo, at T2, says Mr Debenham.

“Basing T2 decisions solely on the disease levels visible at spraying can land you in difficulties. That’s especially the case if disease is in its latent phase, when it’s invisible on the leaf surface, because infection inside the leaf can manifest itself rapidly once the weather turns suitable.”

Maintain green area

One Midlands farm manager who believes firmly in the importance of taking a proactive approach to maintain green leaf area is Leicestershire farm manager David Sedgley. He manages 970ha of combinable crops at Silverwood Farms between Oakham and Grantham.

Last year, he was among the first wave of farmers in the UK to try the new SDHI-based fungicide, Elatus Era – treating half his winter wheat with it across all varieties, predominantly at T2. The farm’s average first wheat yields over the weighbridge were 10.3t/ha and up to 11t/ha in places.

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