28 March 1997

Grain fungicide out next month

FIRST to the market with one of the eagerly awaited strobilurin fungicides is BASF.

UK supplies of the firms newly approved product Ensign, containing the strobilurin kresoxim-methyl and fenpropimorph, will be available in "reasonable quantities" in April.

Fully approved by PSD for use on winter wheat and winter and spring barley, Ensign offers exceptional mildew control and significant reductions in septoria and rhynchosporium, says BASF.

Kresoxim-methyls "quasi-systemic" mode of action and long-term protection are said to have set new standards for disease control in UK trials and in commercial use in Germany and Belgium last season.

In 39 UK wheat trials last year the combination of Ensign and the firms own azole fungicide Opus (epoxiconazole) gave an average 8% yield increase worth £68/ha over the preferred standard treatment, according to product manager Graham Jenner.

Recommended application rate for Ensign is 0.7 litres/ha. Price is unspecified, but will reflect what the product can achieve, says marketing manager John Bedford. "New chemistry is never cheap because of increasing research and development costs."