The “new market standard” claim was probably obligatory, but both firms launching blight products at the BCPC’s Crop Science and Technology 2005 Congress in Glasgow at least had good evidence for suggesting it would eventually be true.

Syngenta’s mandipropamid – the first product to be commercialised from a new chemical group, the mandelamides – was best used as a protectant, the firm’s global development manager Fritz Huggenberger said.

“But it also provides curative activity during the disease’s incubation period.”

In 17 trials carried out across western Europe, mandipropamid gave better foliar blight control than existing standards, including Ranman (cyazofamid), he said.

In the UK it was most likely to be used during the canopy complete phase, his colleague Beth Hall told Farmers Weekly.

“It will be available as a solo product, or in a formulation with mancozeb, with registration hoped for in 2007.”

Like mandipropamid, Bayer CropScience’s fluopicolide, to be sold in combination with propamocarb, would also be targeted from canopy complete onwards, the firm’s Eileen Bardsley said.

“It is a brilliant protectant, very strong on foliar, stem and tuber blight, which makes it very suitable for later in the season.”

Tuber blight was a particular strength, because of its unique activity against zoospores, according to her colleague Sylvain Tafforeau.

In 26 registration trials across Europe less than 1% of tubers were infected following fluopicolide treatment, compared with 3.5% with current standard Shirlan (fluazinam), he said.

The biochemical mode of action is still unknown.

“The mode of action is [known to be] unique, and there is no cross-resistance with other blight fungicides.”

The product would be marketed in a formulation with propamocarb as Infinito once approval was formally granted, Mrs Bardsley said.

“We’re looking to launch it next year – we’re just waiting for the final paperwork.”

mike.abram@rbi.co.uk