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Escolta Trial - David Croft, Culverden

Dairying through a lengthy North Canterbury drought in Culverden David Croft has found fodder beet played a critical role in supplementing his two dairy herds over late lactation and for winter fodder supplement on his properties’ run off.

Escolta Trial Untreated

David is 10 years into growing fodder beet as a supplement having replaced maize with it because of its ease in feeding out as a strip grazed crop and potential, when grown properly, to be a high yielding-low cost feed source.

Last season David was approached by Bayer Crop Science to engage in a trial using Escolta fungicide to compare its effectiveness in controlling late season fungal infections including powdery mildew, rust, cercospora and leaf spot.

Mildew has been a particularly big problem for us and we have been getting leaf die off later in summer in our beet crop.

Given the investment and time to get the crop to that point, David figured an effective fungicide treatment would be a worthwhile investment to protect the crop after it had come so far, and was so close to being fed off.

He was not disappointed.

The trials, consisting of a control (no application), single application and double Escolta application resulted in a very strong crop response to reduced fungal infection.

The portion of David’s crop treated once with Escolta grew 15% more than the control, and the double application crop 34% more than the control.

Escolta was applied in late January, and for the double application six weeks later. To the naked eye the main evidence was greener, healthier leaves for the entire growth period. Signs of mildew effect were minimal, and there was no growth check in bulb development as a result.

It certainly made a difference on the crop quality and yield. It makes sense really, the leaf is the solar panel for the plant and if you can protect that solar panel you will continue to have a strong, healthy growing plant with it.

David says next season he intends to apply a double treatment to the most valuable beet crop, possibly the one nearest the farm dairy.

And regardless we will be definitely treating everything at least once. The results speak volumes about the positive effect Escolta has had on the late season growth, it is very effective for making sure you get the most out of what is a very high yielding, high energy crop.
Escolta Trial Treated