2 March 2001

FUNGICIDE CUTS UNLIKELY

LATE-SOWN wheats need just as much disease protection as earlier drillings, says Mr Parish.

"Early drillings can often afford to lose some canopy. But while later sowings are likely to be under lower disease pressure because of their more open canopies, they will go through their growth stages fast and the role of the top three leaves is even more critical.

"Later sowings may have a higher fungicide requirement as a result. But they could be less responsive to strobilurins, especially where there is some factor limiting crop growth like damaged soil. That is because there will be less opportunity for the strobs physiological greening to be fully exploited if the crop is going to ripen prematurely for other reasons."

Eyespot in early sowings remains a significant threat and growers must be prepared to spend an extra £15/ha (£6/acre) controlling it with a pre-T1 treatment, he warns.

"In my book sowing date is far more important in driving eyespot levels than whether a crop is a first or second wheat.

"On the other hand we do tend to find rather more mildew in late drillings, especially where they are under stress."