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Escolta Trial - Jason Scott, Wairarapa. Scott’s Ag Contracting.

Jason Scott has plenty of first-hand experience sowing, growing and feeding fodder beet. His Wairarapa contracting business is fully engaged from the start of spring preparing seed beds and sowing beet. That includes 30ha of his own land where the beet is sown on a run off playing a key role as winter supplement for a 900 cow milking platform.

Escolta Trial Scott

Jason has been planting and growing fodder beet for a decade, making him one of the early adopters for a crop that is rapidly gaining recognition for its high feed value and low feed out cost.

Jason is more aware than most about the attention to detail needed with seedbed establishment, and goes to great lengths with clients to have a fine, weed free seed bed for optimal germination.

However he has also been aware that at the other end of the growing season there can be significant impacts upon fodder beet yield due to mildew and rust infections that significantly knock back healthy leaf area and bring the crop up short on its full yield potential.

Later stage fungal infections can be quite common and I think that because of the attention it has had in cereal crops here in Wairarapa, people are more aware of it and are looking harder now and finding it in their fodder beet crops too.

So it seemed a smart move to take up Bayer Crop Science’s offer to Jason to participate in a multi-farm national trial to study the effectiveness of Escolta fungicide in protecting fodder beet crops from infections of mildew, rust, Cercospora and Ramularia leaf spot.

On Jason’s property the trial was run using a control (no spray) portion, a portion that was treated once with Escolta in late January, and a portion treated twice, with the second treatment four weeks later.

The results for his property left him in no doubt Escolta will become part of his regular treatment programme for fodder beet.

Assessed in May the portion that received a single Escolta treatment was up 12% on the no-spray control area, while the plot receiving two Escolta treatments yielded an impressive 25t of dry matter a hectare, or 28% more than the control area.

The crop leaf area was maintained in a healthier state through the later part of the growth season, with very little fungal disease present.

I can say absolutely 100% that we will be using Escolta on every crop form now on to maximise the beet yield, and would do two applications given what the gains in yield have proven to be.

Jason said spraying with Escolta has meant he will be able to cut back on the amount of urea fertiliser he has applied in the past to the crop.

We would have put on a pass of urea to try and boost green leaf growth, when in fact the real issue was fungal disease on the leaves cutting back leaf area. Escolta dealt with what proved to be the real problem.