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Aviator Xpro/Prosaro case study - Andrew Gillanders, Central Canterbury

"We applied both Aviator Xpro and Prosaro by ground spraying and there was no sign of disease in either the wheat or barley."

Central Canterbury mixed cropping farmer Andrew Gillanders applied both Aviator Xpro and Prosaro to his wheat and barley crops.

The Gillanders family have been farming the same property for 150 years – with Andrew, Stuart and Donald Gillanders now running the farming operation.

Andrew Gillanders Bayer Case Study

Dryland farming certainly poses its challenges for Central Canterbury mixed cropping farmer Andrew Gillanders. Andrew sums up the 2014 season in three words:

Dry, dry, dry!

Farming 780 hectares at Darfield – the Gillanders crop around 320 ha each year as well as running a breeding ewe flock of sheep and replacements. Crops grown include wheat, barley, grass seed peas, ryecorn and fodder crops for sheep feed.

In the 2014 season, they grew 130ha of wheat and 100ha of barley and both Aviator Xpro and Prosaro, from Bayer Crop Science, were used as part of the fungicide management regime.

“The property can yo-yo from less than 5 tonnes of cereal production one year to 8 tonnes per hectare the next, and back again, depending on rainfall among other factors,” Andrew explains. “There’s little certainty at the best of times. However, with early sowings and good crop husbandry we are able to limit the uncertainty.”

Last year, the Gillanders averaged cereal crop yields of around 7 tonnes/ha from the autumn sown crops. However, yields for the spring sown crops on lighter soils were a different story – due to the very dry conditions.

Andrew decided to try the Bayer products on his wheat and barley last year as he is a firm believer in using new technology to help improve his crop yields.

Aviator Xpro and Prosaro are used to control key fungal diseases in wheat and barley, including Septoria tritici in wheat and Scald in barley.

Aviator Xpro is a dual combination fungicide that combines the Prothioconazole fungicide with a powerful new fungicide called Bixafen, and is ideal for reducing resistance. Another innovative feature is its Leafshield™ technology, a patented formulation designed to ensure the product strongly adheres to the leaf and spreads and dries quickly.

Prosaro combines the most effective fungicide against Septoria tritici – Prothioconazole – with tebuconazole. It is the only such dual formulation available in New Zealand and can also be used to control stripe rust and leaf rust in wheat, and is an ideal product for helping reduce resistance.

Both products are easy to use in both wheat and barley with one dose rate that can be applied in low volumes by either ground or air.

Andrew says they applied both products by ground spraying and there was no sign of disease in either the wheat or barley last season.

The disease threat was not as severe last season due to such a dry spring – even though we drilled a bit later because of a wet autumn.

He says another bonus was the ‘greening effect’ these products had on his cereal crops.

This was quite noticeable last season and it’s really important for us on dryland. If the crop stays green it allows a longer grain full period, which captures any late rains.

For the current season, Andrew says while it is still dry, both the winter barley and wheat are in the ground.

We are still dry and need a significant recharge of our subsoil moisture levels. We are looking for some good rains soon,” he says. “I know it’s wrong, but I am actually hoping we do see some signs of Septoria and Scald this season – as that means we will have had some good moisture.

However, if there is any likelihood of this happening, the Gillanders will have lessened the chances of any damage by again using Aviator Xpro and Prosaro to help better manage the challenges of growing wheat and barley on dryland.