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Spring 2016 – what will the disease threat be like?

“Spring 2016 will certainly be different to recent years”, acknowledges Neil Waddingham, Market Manager – Arable Crops for Bayer, but will it necessitate significant change to fungicide programmes? According to Waddingham and the arable team at Bayer, “Probably not”.

While winter is far from over, a number of different factors have already ensured that disease control decisions this spring will be different from other years for many farmers.

Last autumn many farmers looked for alternative crops to plant in response to depressed cereal prices. The result was a wheat area similar to previous years but with a significantly reduced barley area (however strong signs are emerging that spring barley will fill some of the lost area).

On top of this, much of the crop that was planted went in later than normal. The autumn was very dry and then winter temperatures were unseasonably warm. The result is that these spring crops are lush and forward but with moderate disease levels.

Bayer Crop Science Spring 2016 Article
Bayer Crop Science Spring 2016 Article

With the above situation being a constant topic of conversation at Bayer, the arable team decided to act.

“We could see challenges coming regarding which fungicide programmes to use this spring”, commented Roy Stieller, Bayer Development Officer who focuses on fungicide development, “so we met for a comprehensive review of our 2015 recommended fungicide programmes to consider required changes for spring 2016. In 2015 we generally saw moderate levels of disease in our trials yet we still often recorded attractive and economic yield increases. This made us conclude that little change would be needed for 2016”.

The main change the Bayer team decided upon was for wheat where the application of Aviator Xpro will be focused at T2 and T3.

For wheat Bayer will be recommending two applications of Aviator Xpro, the first at flag leaf emergence (GS39) with a second at ear emergence (GS60-69), at a rate of 1.0 L/ha at both timings. This rate ensures that disease control is robust and persistent, the physiological, non-disease activity of Aviator Xpro can be utilised and this is likely to deliver profitable yields. To ensure disease is controlled prior to GS39 Proline or Prosaro should be applied at GS31-32.

Bayer Crop Science Spring 2016 Article
Bayer Crop Science Spring 2016 Article

For barley Bayer will not be changing their recommendation from 2015 when a programme of Delaro applied at GS31-32 followed by Aviator Xpro at GS39 delivered very good disease control with associated high yields.

“This spring will certainly be interesting but crops are in good shape to deliver and one thing never changes - the best way to ensure a profitable crop is to grow high yields” says Waddingham.