June 29, 2012
Northern Ireland crop trials probe value of new chemistry
Agrii recently held its second annual open day demonstrating cereal herbicides and fungicides for its farming customers in Northern Ireland. The day provided an opportunity for customers to tour plots of winter and spring barley and winter wheat crops where a range of fungicide and herbicide treatments were being evaluated. The replicated plots are part of a UK-wide network of trial sites which are used to evaluate new and existing chemistry under local conditions. This enables agronomists to devise the most effective programmes for their customers.
Winter Barley Fungicide trials were evaluated on the variety Volume and were constructed to test a range of fungicides, including the new SDHIs. Disease levels are currently low with Ramularia and mildew the main diseases present and low levels of leaf blotch. The trial will assess, in terms of yield and gross margin, the effectiveness of current standards such as Mobius against the newer products, Bontima, Siltra and Imtrex and the results will be made available to Agrii customers. The new multi-site fungicide Phoenix is also being assessed for the first time in Northern Ireland which offers improved control of Ramularia and additional greening effects against the current standard Chlorothalonil.
The herbicide trial plots had the typical range of weed problems present throughout fields in Northern Ireland, including Annual Meadow Grass, Field Speedwell, Chickweed, Cleavers, Shepherd’s Purse, Groundsel and Fumitory. Over 15 different combinations of herbicides were divided into autumn and spring applications. Approaches are being studied to reduce the reliance especially on spring sulfonyl-urea broad leaved weed herbicides in order to halt further resistance development. Various combinations of spring applied hormone and sulfonyl-urea herbicides demonstrated the importance of achieving good grass weed control in the autumn.
Chris Bean, Agrii Technical Manager, presented the wheat disease and herbicide trials. The fungicide trials are evaluating existing strobilurin and triazole fungicides alongside the new SDHI chemistry across 18 different programmes with the main focus of the trial being flag leaf (T2) and ear wash (T3) options. The new SDHIs such as Boogie, Imtrex, Aviator, Adexar and Seguris are claimed to be very effective against septoria providing protectant and some curative activity and in addition help to increase and retain green leaf area. Nevertheless, use of SDHIs needs to be targeted to high potential crops.
The herbicide plots include both winter and spring applications and like the winter barley trial demonstrate the importance of early autumn grass and broad leaved weed control. Spring applications of Pacifica and Othello provide an alternative to autumn annual meadow grass control but again ably demonstrate the increasing problem of SU resistant chickweed and the limited spring control options.
Annual meadow grass and SU resistant chickweed are the most problematic weeds of spring barley crops in N Ireland. In the Agrii trials, Kula (chlorotoluron + dff) applied either pre or post-emergence offers a solution.
Also in trial are a range of fungicides for controlling foliar diseases of spring barley. Mobius has become the product of choice for winter and spring barley, delivering excellent control at a reasonable cost per hectare plus physiological benefits of crop greening and increasing nitrogen usage efficiency. Phoenix, which contains the multi-site active ingredient folpet, is also in the trials owing to its control of Ramularia – plus it provides an additional active ingredient for use in disease anti resistance strategies.
The final measure of performance of all the products in trial will be when the combines have been in and the data assessed and will provide some useful information for discussion at farmer meetings during the winter.