30 June 2000

Give your wheat crop a hand to take on take-all

USE of new seed treatment Jockey (fluquinconazole + prochloraz) is just one of the measures growers can use against take-all this autumn.

Growers also need to boost rooting with a little autumn N and mildew control.

"One of the problems with the disease is that you do not always see symptoms, and yet it can be present and causing yield reductions," says Dick Neale, technical manager with Wisbech, Cambs-based distributor HL Hutchinson. "A yield difference of 1t/ha between first and second wheats suggests take-all exists."

Consider the history of the farm before making any agronomic decisions, Mr Neale suggests. "If you regularly see take-all then the chances of getting a good response with the seed treatment are high.

"We know Jockey gives a yield improvement and it is good with severe take-all. And using reduced seed rates will help lower the cost."

Other practical measures growers can implement include maximising root production, using a small amount of nitrogen in the autumn and controlling mildew, advises Mr Neale. "Get the crop to produce a lot of root, so that it has a chance of withstanding attack," he says. "That means striking the right balance between establishing the crop early and making the most of take-all decline. It is also important to establish wheat in good conditions."

He recommends the use of a small amount of nitrogen in the autumn on second wheats. "Apply 30kg/ha before the end of October so that the roots can expand. But do not do it if it is very wet."

His other pointer is to control mildew in the autumn. "If mildew is allowed in, it restricts rooting, which makes take-all worse. So create a good seed-bed and make sure that plants are given every help to establish a good root system."

Seed manager Colin Button believes the combination of Jockeys foliar disease activity and take-all control offer growers greater flexibility with drilling dates and workloads.

"Early drillers will be able to take advantage of the foliar disease control to keep crops clean until GS31," he points out. "They can then adjust the fungicide programme accordingly. Obviously, they will have to get used to shifting their spend on fungicides forwards, but at low seed rates the product only costs £8-£9/ha. And it does not lose efficacy."

Mr Button says the take-all control offered by Jockey means second and third wheat drilling wont have to be delayed. "Bringing second wheats forwards will improve yields. And the septoria control that the seed treatment provides will be a great boost for Consort growers."

He admits that once the Monsanto take-all seed treatment is available, growers will need to know which product is best for their situation. "It may well be that the two products complement each other when used in different parts of the rotation. We still have a lot to learn about how best to use some of the new products."

TAKE-ALL CONTROL

&#8226 Jockey looks useful.

&#8226 Consider take-all history.

&#8226 Boost rooting too.

&#8226 Autumn N + mildew control.

Boost root growth to help wheat combat take-all urges Hutchinson technical manager Dick Neale.