By Mike Abram

SCOTTISH BARLEY growers can boost profits by maximising yields and straw quality using a new fungicide combination of Tracker + Jenton, suggests BASF”s Scotland agronomy manager Dick Dyason.

High European malt stocks and a declining domestic feed market are combining to keep barley prices in the doldrums, he says. “Years of under-investment in UK malting has made it uncompetitive, so barring a real shortage in malt caused by disastrous weather somewhere in the world, prices are unlikely to rise.”

That means growers must maximise yields by protecting against disease and lodging – reduced grain and straw quality can cost as much as 200/ha in gross margin, he calculates.

Using a Jenton + Tracker tank- mix covers all the disease bases, including rhynchosporium, eyespot and ramularia, he says. “It really stood out in trials for both yield and green leaf area.”

A T1 treatment of Jenton + Tracker (0.75 litres/ha + 0.55 litres/ha) tank-mix on Pearl winter barley yielded over 1.7t/ha more than Jenton + Proline (1.0 litre/ha + 0.4 litres/ha) in a Scottish BASF trial last season, he says.

Maintaining straw quality shouldn”t be overlooked either, he says. “With the relative low price of grain, the straw becomes relatively more valuable.”

Tracker”s activity against eyespot and foot rots helps increase straw strength, reducing brackling and lodging, he says. “Tracker is also a very good protectant against rhynchosporium.”

Adding Jenton, which gives barley growers a cost-effective pyraclostrobin-based option, boosts curative activity against rhyncho. “Growers can juggle rates depending on variety and disease.”

Base advice is a tank-mix of 0.75 litres/ha of both, costing around 33/ha, but less susceptible rhyncho varieties, such as Sequel and Pearl will require less Jenton, while more susceptible varieties would respond to higher doses of Jenton, with less Tracker, he suggests.

Rates for spring barley will tend to be lower, 0.5 litres/ha of each, although dirty varieties, such as Optic, may need more, he adds.

 mike.abram@rbi.co.uk

BOXES IN ARABLE TABLES, P4 Active ingredients Jenton – pyraclostrobin + fenpropimorph Tracker – boscalid + epoxiconazole Proline – prothioconazole Jenton + Tracker * Complete disease control spectrum * Out-yields Jenton + Proline * Improves straw quality * Juggle rate depending on variety