A NEW MODEL to predict Sclerotinia disease could help growers improve spray application timing, claim its developers.

The forecasting system is currently being developed by Warwick HRI for field lettuce growers, but its application could be extended to oilseed rape, experts claim.

It works by measuring and predicting the germination of sclerotia –  the resting body phase of the Sclerotinia cycle – which indicates spore presence and disease risk, explained ADAS‘s Caroline Young.

“This could influence the timing of sprays; protectant fungicides need to be applied earlier rather than later during crop growth,” she said.

Preventing the disease from occurring is also a key part of resistance management, added Syngenta‘s technical manager, Beth Hall.

She advised growers to use Amistar (azoxystrobin) ahead of disease inoculum infection to achieve best control.

It is hoped that the Warwick model can be combined with a disease development tool from ADAS to create a Sclerotinia forecasting model.