Sugar beet growers who have been holding off fungicide applications should get sprays on as soon as possible, British Sugar has advised.

After one of the driest July’s on record, many crops have suffered from wilting, but the ‘greening effect’ of a triazole fungicide now could help crops recover some of that lost potential, said the firm’s Colin Walters.

“As long as you’ve got four weeks before harvest, applying a triazole fungicide will pay off, even in the absence of disease. Many with combinable crops have been holding off spraying as they’ve got on with harvest, but the recent break is an ideal chance to get fungicides on.”

But those with very early lifted crops need to be cautious, as some products – such as Punch (carbendazim + flusilazole) – have longer harvest intervals than four weeks (seven weeks in the case of Punch).

There are some local shortages of the cyproconazole-based products Cabaret and Caddy, but suppliers are trying to alleviate this by moving supplies around the country to major beet growing areas, he noted.

Mr Walters also urged any growers controlling weed beet to ensure they pull plants and remove them from the field, as most have now set seed and leaving them in the field will allow seed to be returned to the soil.

Further information on beet fungicide choice this season can be found in the BBRO Advisory Bulletin 21 (14 July) at www.uksugarbeet.co.uk