20 June 1998

DONT THROW IT ALL AWAY

ing those diseases to come back in. Many think they have already spent too much and want to stop, but that would be throwing everything away," he stresses.

In a yellow rust susceptible variety like Brigadier, a triazole such as tebuconazole (Folicur/Silvacur) is the only solution to keep foliar disease out and control fusarium and sooty moulds, he believes.

While azoxystrobin (Amistar) is the bees knees on sooty moulds, it doesnt control Fusarium culmorum which is encouraged by warm, drizzly weather. Furthermore it has no kick-back activity against foliar diseases.

But where the strobilurin route is preferred, adding an MBC fungicide such as carbendazim to Amistar wouldnt increase the cost much, and may increase effectiveness.

It is certainly not a year to cut back on rates either. Amistar and Bavistin (carbendazim) may be acceptable at 0.25 litres/ha each, but Folicur and Silvacur should be applied at 0.3-0.4 litres/ha.

&#8226 Growers choosing Amistar will no longer be restricted to spray 6m from a watercourse. The products buffer zone restriction has been lifted.

INPUTS V OUTPUTS

GROWERS who are to survive in a climate of volatile cereal prices must meet the challenge of reducing the unit cost of production.

While some may attempt that by reining back on inputs, Velcourt is prepared to spend more if it means higher output and quality. Technical director, Keith Norman, explains. "Its foolhardy to decide to cut out a fungicide or a growth regulator because the season may not allow it, as this one hasnt. The price of inputs must be matched to output."

Velcourts Cereals 98 demonstration encompassed a new versus old approach to fungicide chemistry, potential seed treatments, and futuristic rape types.

Although strobilurin fungicides command a premium, Mr Norman believes they can deliver extra yield and quality to cover that – provided timing is right.

This season has put them through their paces, with disease pressure from yellow rust and septoria at its worst for several years. Treated plots at the event were fairly clean, but time will tell whether or not the strobilurins are cost effective.

In deciding, Mr Norman will also take into account any knock-on effects, such as the need for extra growth regulators to keep a potentially lusher crop standing.

The unabated threat from yellow rust may also influence variety choice for next season. Brigadier accounts for almost a third of the national wheat area, and has fallen prey to the worst epidemic ever. Mr Norman may reduce its area further this autumn and introduce more Savannah and Equinox.

Where Brigadier is still grown, up to four fungicide sprays may be needed in future, although a new fungicide demonstrated on the Velcourt area promises to ease the burden of early season spraying.

Fluquinconazole is a new triazole, expected from AgrEvo by autumn 1999, offering control of the take-all fungus. It also suppresses yellow rust and septoria, so may allow growers to skip an autumn or early spring foliar fungicide.

Mr Norman believes some varieties may not need spraying until flag leaf emergence (GS39), unless they are susceptible to mildew. "To have a chemical answer to take-all is in itself good news, since that is the stumbling block to continuous wheat rotations.

If it is priced right, fluquinconazole could help some growers survive under Agenda 2000 proposals. "But to have additional effects on foliar diseases is very exciting," says Mr Norman.

STAYING POWER

KNOWING how much product actually stays on a treated leaf could be an advantage when deciding on the need for further sprays.

An ELISA-based on-farm kit being developed at the SAC in Edinburgh can do just that for tebuconazole (Folicur). And in future similar kits could do the same for other products, and possibly other diseases, says researcher Neil Havis.

"As a rule of thumb, the triazole fungicides last about four to six weeks. But by measuring precisely how much is left in a leaf at any given time, our diagnostic kit could help with the accuracy of fungicide timing and rate selection against the range of diseases."

By the year 2000, growers should be able to purchase the kit for an outlay of about £70.

AWARE that growers will need flexible, low cost herbicides to offset falling incomes, DuPont has introduced its newest sulfonylurea, flupyrsulfuron-methyl, as a standalone product.

Previously available only with carfentrazone-ethyl as Lexus Class, the chemical offers control of blackgrass and some broad-leaved weeds in winter wheat, winter oats, winter rye and triticale.

Herbicide product manager Martyn Rogers expects Lexus 50DF, a dry flowable formulation of straight flupyrsulfuron, to replace isoproturon (eg Arelon/Tolkan) on some farms. It will be priced accordingly.

"Lexus offers better and more consistent blackgrass control than isoproturon, and adding new chemistry should reduce the risk of resistance buildup," he says.

On a Lincolnshire site where resistant blackgrass is rife, an early sequence of Lexus followed by Hawk (clodinafop-propargyl and trifluralin) topped the options. Mr Rogers hopes to bring out an agreed recommendation shortly.

The sequence gave about 98% control in the trial, which left only 30-40 blackgrass heads/sq m, compared with 1,400 heads/sq m in the untreated plots. The benchmark treatment, IPU + trifluralin, left 200-400 heads – potentially a massive seed return.

BEWARE a bruchid beetle invasion in export bean crops this month, says Becky Ward of the PGRO.

The hole-boring pest was spotted in trial plots at the beginning of June. Foreign buyers dont take kindly to damaged beans, and so premium potential vanishes.

Ms Ward recommends shaking the flowering stem – if beetles are present, they will fall off into your hand. Look out for a brownish-grey insect 4-5mm long, with flecking on the back. Unlike thinner weevils, bruchid beetles are fatter – more like a ladybird.

If you see any beetles, spray treatment with full-rate deltamethrin (Decis) should start as soon as the first pod is about to set, with 7-8 flowering nodes present, with a follow-up 7-10 days later. Spray treatment can have variable success, says Ms Ward. "Best results are from well timed sprays. Its vital to treat just before the first pod is set, because that is when the eggs are laid."

DECISION FOR 2000

THE decision support system DESSAC is a step closer to the farm, or at least the farm office.

The first module – for winter wheat disease control – will be out in time for the 2000 growing season. Others, for BYDV prediction and control, spring barley production, soil nitrogen and fertiliser requirements, oilseed pest control and an environmental management system, should follow within a year or two.

The winter wheat fungicide system alone should generate annual savings of £50m, claim the project partners. Recommendations on fungicide dose, timing and chemical choice are expected to give results as good as a top agronomist, though maybe not as good as the best.

Next year will see DESSAC face its first real field test – head to head in the field against conventional human advisers. Cost of the system hasnt been announced but, since its been designed as a means of technology transfer, its expected to be affordable.

AGGRO ON GM PLOTS

PROGESSS is less smooth for gene technology. The Institute of Arable Crops Researchs spring breadmaking wheat wasnt the only genetically modified crop on the showground, but it was the only one to receive the unwelcome last moment attention of a protest group which removed the ears from the new generation plants.

Modifying particular gluten proteins allows wheats to be fine tuned to their end use – whether in bread, cakes and pastries, noodles or as a binder in meat products. It also makes it possible to manipulate grain composition to develop new end uses, such as the raw material for biodegradable plastics.

A new group was announced at the event which aims to support the safe, responsible and effective introduction of GM crops in the UK. Scimac, the Supply Chain Initiative on Modified Agricultural Crops, wants to ensure that commercial introduction is managed openly.

Founder members are the NFU, UKASTA, BAA, the British Society of Plant Breeders and the British Sugar Beet Producers Association.

TELL-TALE poppies in fields near Cereals 98 might have been controlled by the latest herbicide from BASF – a cleaver and poppy killer for pre- and post-emergence use in oilseed rape.

Katamaran is based on a combination of the new herbicide quinmerac with the more familiar metazachlor – from Butisan S. The result is a product BASF claims will cut yield loss from weed competition while reducing the risk of weed seed admixture.

A survey this spring revealed that one in 20 growers had cleavers in 90-100% of their oilseed rape crops. Over a third questioned had the weed in up to 10% of their rape fields in spring 1998, while more than half admitted they still had cleavers present at harvest last year.

Trials at IACR Rothamsted have shown a potential yield loss of 48% – worth £260/ha at todays price – from 10 cleavers/sq m infestation. Even at 0.5 weeds/sq m, Rothamsted found a 5% yield loss. BASF product manager Andrew Jones argues that this means there is no economic threshold for cleavers in oilseed rape – justifying treatment of any weed seedlings found there.

THE need for a powerful ear emergence fungicide has never been greater, according to Bill Clark, ADAS national cereal pathologist. He believes its a waste of time using a cheap and cheerful ear wash this season.

"Yellow rust and septoria are threatening, and flag leaf sprays are running out of steam. A lot of growers have got their fungicide timing all up the spout this season, allowing those diseases to come back in. Many think they have already spent too much and want to stop, but that would be throwing everything away," he stresses.

In a yellow rust susceptible variety like Brigadier, a triazole such as tebuconazole (Folicur/Silvacur) is the only solution to keep foliar disease out and control fusarium and sooty moulds, he believes.

While azoxystrobin (Amistar) is the bees knees on sooty moulds, it doesnt control Fusarium culmorum which is encouraged by warm, drizzly weather. Furthermore it has no kick-back activity against foliar diseases.

But where the strobilurin route is preferred, adding an MBC fungicide such as carbendazim to Amistar wouldnt increase the cost much, and may increase effectiveness.

It is certainly not a year to cut back on rates either. Amistar and Bavistin (carbendazim) may be acceptable at 0.25 litres/ha each, but Folicur and Silvacur should be applied at 0.3-0.4 litres/ha.

&#8226 Growers choosing Amistar will no longer be restricted to spray 6m from a watercourse. The products buffer zone restriction has been lifted.

INPUTS V OUTPUTS

GROWERS who are to survive in a climate of volatile cereal prices must meet the challenge of reducing the unit cost of production.

While some may attempt that by reining back on inputs, Velcourt is prepared to spend more if it means higher output and quality. Technical director, Keith Norman, explains. "Its foolhardy to decide to cut out a fungicide or a growth regulator because the season may not allow it, as this one hasnt. The price of inputs must be matched to output."

Velcourts Cereals 98 demonstration encompassed a new versus old approach to fungicide chemistry, potential seed treatments, and futuristic rape types.

Although strobilurin fungicides command a premium, Mr Norman believes they can deliver extra yield and quality to cover that – provided timing is right.

This season has put them through their paces, with disease pressure from yellow rust and septoria at its worst for several years. Treated plots at the event were fairly clean, but time will tell whether or not the strobilurins are cost effective.

In deciding, Mr Norman will also take into account any knock-on effects, such as the need for extra growth regulators to keep a potentially lusher crop standing.

The unabated threat from yellow rust may also influence variety choice for next season. Brigadier accounts for almost a third of the national wheat area, and has fallen prey to the worst epidemic ever. Mr Norman may reduce its area further this autumn and introduce more Savannah and Equinox.

Where Brigadier is still grown, up to four fungicide sprays may be needed in future, although a new fungicide demonstrated on the Velcourt area promises to ease the burden of early season spraying.

Fluquinconazole is a new triazole, expected from AgrEvo by autumn 1999, offering control of the take-all fungus. It also suppresses yellow rust and septoria, so may allow growers to skip an autumn or early spring foliar fungicide.

Mr Norman believes some varieties may not need spraying until flag leaf emergence (GS39), unless they are susceptible to mildew. "To have a chemical answer to take-all is in itself good news, since that is the stumbling block to continuous wheat rotations.

If it is priced right, fluquinconazole could help some growers survive under Agenda 2000 proposals. "But to have additional effects on foliar diseases is very exciting," says Mr Norman.

STAYING POWER

KNOWING how much product actually stays on a treated leaf could be an advantage when deciding on the need for further sprays.

An ELISA-based on-farm kit being developed at the SAC in Edinburgh can do just that for tebuconazole (Folicur). And in future similar kits could do the same for other products, and possibly other diseases, says researcher Neil Havis.

"As a rule of thumb, the triazole fungicides last about four to six weeks. But by measuring precisely how much is left in a leaf at any given time, our diagnostic kit could help with the accuracy of fungicide timing and rate selection against the range of diseases."

By the year 2000, growers should be able to purchase the kit for an outlay of about £70.

AWARE that growers will need flexible, low cost herbicides to offset falling incomes, DuPont has introduced its newest sulfonylurea, flupyrsulfuron-methyl, as a standalone product.

Previously available only with carfentrazone-ethyl as Lexus Class, the chemical offers control of blackgrass and some broad-leaved weeds in winter wheat, winter oats, winter rye and triticale.

Herbicide product manager Martyn Rogers expects Lexus 50DF, a dry flowable formulation of straight flupyrsulfuron, to replace isoproturon (eg Arelon/Tolkan) on some farms. It will be priced accordingly.

"Lexus offers better and more consistent blackgrass control than isoproturon, and adding new chemistry should reduce the risk of resistance buildup," he says.

On a Lincolnshire site where resistant blackgrass is rife, an early sequence of Lexus followed by Hawk (clodinafop-propargyl and trifluralin) topped the options. Mr Rogers hopes to bring out an agreed recommendation shortly.

The sequence gave about 98% control in the trial, which left only 30-40 blackgrass heads/sq m, compared with 1,400 heads/sq m in the untreated plots. The benchmark treatment, IPU + trifluralin, left 200-400 heads – potentially a massive seed return.

BEWARE a bruchid beetle invasion in export bean crops this month, says Becky Ward of the PGRO.

The hole-boring pest was spotted in trial plots at the beginning of June. Foreign buyers dont take kindly to damaged beans, and so premium potential vanishes.

Ms Ward recommends shaking the flowering stem – if beetles are present, they will fall off into your hand. Look out for a brownish-grey insect 4-5mm long, with flecking on the back. Unlike thinner weevils, bruchid beetles are fatter – more like a ladybird.

If you see any beetles, spray treatment with full-rate deltamethrin (Decis) should start as soon as the first pod is about to set, with 7-8 flowering nodes present, with a follow-up 7-10 days later. Spray treatment can have variable success, says Ms Ward. "Best results are from well timed sprays. Its vital to treat just before the first pod is set, because that is when the eggs are laid."

DECISION FOR 2000

THE decision support system DESSAC is a step closer to the farm, or at least the farm office.

The first module – for winter wheat disease control – will be out in time for the 2000 growing season. Others, for BYDV prediction and control, spring barley production, soil nitrogen and fertiliser requirements, oilseed pest control and an environmental management system, should follow within a year or two.

The winter wheat fungicide system alone should generate annual savings of £50m, claim the project partners. Recommendations on fungicide dose, timing and chemical choice are expected to give results as good as a top agronomist, though maybe not as good as the best.

Next year will see DESSAC face its first real field test – head to head in the field against conventional human advisers. Cost of the system hasnt been announced but, since its been designed as a means of technology transfer, its expected to be affordable.

AGGRO ON GM PLOTS

PROGESSS is less smooth for gene technology. The Institute of Arable Crops Researchs spring breadmaking wheat wasnt the only genetically modified crop on the showground, but it was the only one to receive the unwelcome last moment attention of a protest group which removed the ears from the new generation plants.

Modifying particular gluten proteins allows wheats to be fine tuned to their end use – whether in bread, cakes and pastries, noodles or as a binder in meat products. It also makes it possible to manipulate grain composition to develop new end uses, such as the raw material for biodegradable plastics.

A new group was announced at the event which aims to support the safe, responsible and effective introduction of GM crops in the UK. Scimac, the Supply Chain Initiative on Modified Agricultural Crops, wants to ensure that commercial introduction is managed openly.

Founder members are the NFU, UKASTA, BAA, the British Society of Plant Breeders and the British Sugar Beet Producers Association.

TELL-TALE poppies in fields near Cereals 98 might have been controlled by the latest herbicide from BASF – a cleaver and poppy killer for pre- and post-emergence use in oilseed rape.

Katamaran is based on a combination of the new herbicide quinmerac with the more familiar metazachlor – from Butisan S. The result is a product BASF claims will cut yield loss from weed competition while reducing the risk of weed seed admixture.

A survey this spring revealed that one in 20 growers had cleavers in 90-100% of their oilseed rape crops. Over a third questioned had the weed in up to 10% of their rape fields in spring 1998, while more than half admitted they still had cleavers present at harvest last year.

Trials at IACR Rothamsted have shown a potential yield loss of 48% – worth £260/ha at todays price – from 10 cleavers/sq m infestation. Even at 0.5 weeds/sq m, Rothamsted found a 5% yield loss. BASF product manager Andrew Jones argues that this means there is no economic threshold for cleavers in oilseed rape – justifying treatment of any weed seedlings found there.

Velcourt technical director Keith Norman (right) answers questions on the newest hybrid rapes.

Safari so good. Inflatable giraffes introduced to Cereals 98 by Advantas Paul Hickman (right) quickly fell prey to visitors.

FLEXIBLE FRIEND

ONE PASS CURE-ALL

A Lexus-Hawk sequence beat off this resistant blackgrass.

WANT to clobber blackgrass, cleavers, brome, all broad-leaved weeds and winter-emerging wild oats? Barring spring-germinating weeds and high levels of brome, JV485 promises to be an all-embracing answer to cereal weed control.

Sounds too good to be true. But the performance of a new molecule, fluazolate, from Twinagro (a joint venture company of Monsanto and Bayer) certainly looked real enough in weed-infested plots at Haverholme.

Its a pre-emergence spray product. The company is exploring ways to simplify application techniques so growers can apply the herbicide and drill the crop in one pass.

A prototype modified drill unit – seen here with (L – R) Twinagro product manager Richard Elliott, Bayers David Payne and John Davies from Monsanto – shows how a sprayer unit might be mounted in tandem, linked to the hydraulics.

BEETLES ABOUT

Make the most of beans by keeping beetles at bay – Becky Ward.

Tractor pulling champion Geoff Ashcroft made the Crops stand shake with his 3,000hp machine. Your new equipment design or idea can win you a holiday of a lifetime in our Machines for the Millennium contest. Entry details will be repeated in the next issue.

Rothamsteds Paul Lazzeri found the GM display wrecked on the first day.

Something to toast for Nickerson UKs Frank Curtis. Rifle winter malting barley shot straight to a full recommendation from the IOB.

CLEAVERS

BEATEN