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Managing Stripe-Rust Outbreaks with Crop Protection Solutions from Syngenta

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With now emerging stripe-rust in Northern NSW wheat crops, and its potential for crop devastation, Syngenta gives graingrowers a number of cost-effective tools to help with the protection of crop yield.

As new discoveries crop up daily, there are expectations that the fungal disease will emerge across the entire eastern wheat belt before the end of September.

Syngenta Crop Protection’s Cereal Technical Service Lead, Garth Wickson, says the first point to remember when developing a disease management program is that fungicide applications protect the crop’s yield potential, they don’t create yield.

“Therefore the first and most important thing growers and advisers should do before applying fungicides is to accurately estimate crop yield potential.

“As a guide, with the range of fungicide options currently available - if the crop will yield more than 2.0t/ha, it becomes economic to apply fungicides for the management of stripe rust.

“Trials over the last three years have consistently shown that preventative applications of fungicides generate a significantly better response than applications made after the disease has become established.”

Mr Wickson says the real decision now is about which active ingredient to use.

“In Europe and North America, there is no debate about whether fungicide treatments are required, it’s all about which one and when they should be used to ensure maximum grain yield and quality. Australian growers are increasingly recognising this fact.”

Matching the fungicide to be applied to the yield potential of the crop is the key. Where the crop has a low to moderate yield potential, growers and advisers should look to use a broad-spectrum economic fungicide like TILT. TILT provides robust control of stripe rust and at the same time will protect the crop from other diseases such as Yellow leaf spot.

In situations where the yield potential is greater, growers and advisers have an increased range of fungicide options.

“Syngenta has a range of select formulations to suit each scenario – these enable the grower to cost-effectively match a product to the problem,” says Mr Wickson.

Syngenta field biologist, Trevor Klein, said growers should be aware of the differences in preventative, curative and antisporulant activities of products and to make careful consideration of product choice - depending on the stage of disease infection, disease spectrum and crop yield potential.

“Some products are inherently more active on certain diseases, for example Cyproconazole (the XTRA in TILT XTRA) is recognised globally as being highly active on cereal rust diseases including stripe rust.”

Mr Klein says the bottom-line benefits of applying proven treatments speak for themselves.

“It’s highly likely that wheat crops will need a rust preventative treatment and this is where TILT XTRA comes into play. For example, in a large scale farmer trial at Dubbo in 2004, TILT XTRA was applied at 250mLs/ha to a crop of H45 at flag emergence where there was a low level of stripe rust through the lower canopy and realised a yield of 4.63t/ha in comparison with the unsprayed 2.63t/ha. The secret of this result was correct choice of product applied preventatively to protect the all important flag leaf.

“Growers should also be aware that some products have a very broad spectrum of activity, which offers protection against other diseases that can opportunistically infect a crop.

“Some products are good at curing existing disease that may be in the latent phase, whilst others are super protectants, that when applied preventatively avert a hypersensitive response in the crop. Thus energy reserves that would otherwise be diverted to activate a plant’s natural defence mechanisms are able to go directly to preserve grain yield potential,” Mr Klein said.

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