Key fungicide chlorothalonil could potentially be in short supply this season, agronomists are warning, as growers gear up to apply T1 wheat fungicide sprays in the next fortnight (see panel).
Supplies of the popular protectant fungicide – seen by most agronomists as essential for reliable control of Septoria tritici – have been hit by the Pesticides Safety Directorate ordering Nufarm to withdraw batches of Joules after analysis showed its formulation was different from the one approved.
That came on top of only one manufacturer, Syngenta, providing data to support chlorothalonil’s continued EU Annex 1 registration, meaning other manufacturers had until 31 August 2006 to sell their existing stock – an amount that now appears to be much less than was previously indicated by distributors.
Syngenta’s Matt Pickard says: “We were told there was quite a lot of left-over stock when we made our original forecasts.”
But some product included in that estimate has been ruled ineligible for sale creating a potential shortfall exacerbated by the Joules batch withdrawal. “We’ve had enquiries from customers in the past two weeks to supply 10% more product.” That’s despite Syngenta increasing its own production by 50% since the autumn.
Agronomists are anticipating chlorothalonil supplies will be tight, Steve Cook from Hampshire Arable Systems, says. “The Joules situation has added a bit more pressure.”
But he is hopeful that a bit of forward planning should have secured enough stock.
“There are other options in wheat so I’m not too worried. For example, we like strobilurin fungicides at T2, so if Bravo is short, it might force us down the Amistar Opti route rather than Comet [plus Bravo].
“It’s more worrying in crops where other options haven’t been approved, for example, late-season chocolate spot control in beans.”