7 March 1997

European trials could bring take-all control

TAKE-ALL control is on the horizon, thanks to work by Monsanto. Trials throughout Europe show its new molecules provide take-all control to match the foliar disease control offered by conventional fungicides.

That could allow a major re-think of cereal rotations, opening up the possibility of far more cereal-based systems.

Likely to be formulated as a seed treatment the material used alone has given a yield response of up to 0.5t/ha (4cwt/acre) where take-all is a minor concern, explains Colin Merritt, technical manager for Monsanto in the UK. "It also looks suitable for use as a granule or as a foliar spray."

Under intense take-all pressure – leading to 20% whiteheads in untreated plots – the yield response is in the range of 0.8-2t/ha. Green leaf area was preserved for an extra two to three weeks in the Belgian trials.

"This range of products includes some which control other diseases," says Dr Merritt.

Trials with other seed treatments are under way.

Significantly the products control take-all throughout the growing season, including the vital grain-filling stage, he adds.

Trials are also assessing the products role in winter barley. "Although barley is less sensitive to take-all in visual terms, we are looking to see if there is any benefit from controlling sub-clinical effects," Dr Merritt comments.

Luc Samain, manager of Monsantos research farm west of Brussels, believes the material will offer farmers great scope to modify crop rotations. "Not only will it allow wheat after wheat, but other cereals too and grasses and set-aside."

Nitrogen application

Savings in nitrogen applications may also be possible, according to Ivo Brants, technical manager with Monsanto in Belgium. "There are strong indications from trials work here in Belgium and in the UK and France that uptake may be better because there is more root, so you could reduce N rates and still get the same yield."

UK growers are likely to see the product before European competitors, since take-all is a more significant problem and better understood this side of the Channel, says Dr Merritt.


* New seed treatment fungicide.

* Delays onset of take-all.

* 0.2-0.8t/ha yield response.

* Better rooting may allow N rates to be cut.

* Available in UK first.

* Allow more continuous wheat?

Sign of the past?Early take-all patches and associated root damage in cereal crops should be reduced by the new seed treatment.


&#8226 New seed treatment fungicide.

&#8226 Controls take-all through season.

&#8226 0.5-2t/ha yield response.

&#8226 Better rooting may allow N rates to be cut.

&#8226 Available in UK first.

&#8226 Allow more continuous wheat?