20 June 1997

Ear sprays good idea – advice

EAR sprays may be needed on many wheat crops this season. That is due to recent mixed weather and dwindling levels of protection from current fungicide applications, says Morley Research Centres Doug Stevens.

There is plenty of inoculum in crops he warns. "Brown rust is lurking, and could explode after the recent high humidity. Varieties like Rialto may need a fungicide top-up."

Rain has splashed septoria up onto the top leaves and ear, so varieties like Riband may be at risk. Brigadier is threatened by yellow rust, and susceptible varieties may need protecting.

"Almost every variety should have had, or should be seriously considered as a candidate for, an ear wash," says Mr Stevens.

Crops which received low spray rates at flag leaf need monitoring carefully, he adds. "It takes a pretty massive dose to protect a crop through to harvest." Many crops were also sprayed early, as flag leaves emerged. "Leaves were still rolled and did not present a very good target."

Tebuconazole (Folicur) at 0.4-0.5 litres/ha offers good rust control, he advises. Difenoconazole (Plover) is a broader spectrum treatment. MBCs could be added on milling wheats to preventing ear blackening.