15 June 2001

Latitude launch offers to take care of take-all

By Charles Abel

LONG-AWAITED take-all seed treatment Latitude has finally secured official approval for use on UK cereal crops this autumn.

It will be marketed under the slogan "take out take-all".

At its launch late last week, product manager Roger James hailed it as a unique breakthrough for take-all control, offering a new opportunity to combat the disease, which costs UK cereal growers anything from £16m to £55m each year.

Main benefits of the silthiofam-based product are that it helps move second and subsequent wheat yields closer to those of first wheats, allows earlier drilling and does not delay emergence.

It is likely to cost £150-£160/t, which works out at £20-£24/ha (£8-£10/acre) assuming a typical seed-rate of 250-300 seeds/sq m.

Take-all control is significantly better and more consistent than competitor product Jockey (fluquinconazole + prochloraz), particularly as take-all becomes more severe, according to Monsanto trials.

ADAS disease expert Bill Clark echoes that. "You would not choose Jockey for take-all control alone, you would need to look at its foliar disease activity too, which may or may not be a benefit."

In over 800 trials across Europe, including 170 in the UK, Latitude gave a positive yield response wherever take-all was present. In all cases yield response covered treatment cost and specific weight improved by 1-2kg/hl.

"In moderate to high take-all Latitude will give a £20-£40/ha return over cost and will protect from the risk of worse take-all," says Monsanto technical specialist David Leaper.

Latitude does not give total control, but trials show it recovers up to two-thirds of the yield that would otherwise be lost to take-all.

The trials show a 0.3t/ha yield response where take-all severity is low, 0.5t/ha when medium, 0.6t/ha when high, 0.8t/ha if very high and 1.6t/ha where severe.

Earlier sowing is significantly safer where Latitude is used, spreading drilling windows and allowing significant seed rate reductions to cut costs.

Trials show mid-October remains the optimum drilling date, but Latitudes yield recovery means drilling two to three weeks earlier can deliver the same yield. The yield recovery effect also applies to even earlier drillings.

Monsanto sees second wheats as the main market for Latitude, but also believes it has a role in the many early-drilled first wheats set to follow this years expanded set-aside and spring barley areas. "Wherever there is a take-all risk Latitude has a role," says Mr Leaper.

It will be available through certified seed processors mainly, plus mobile seed cleaners. Marketing will be via the seed trade and agchem distributors, with agchem orders redirected to a seed supplier as necessary.

A similar marketing strategy pursued in Ireland two years ago led to initial hiccups, but now works smoothly, says Monsanto Irelands Yvonne Farrell.

lAventis has extended its seed treatment line-up by launching a straight fluquinconazole product, Jockey F.

Like Jockey (fluquinconazole + prochloraz), it controls early foliar disease, bunt and take-all, but without prochloraz fusarium seedling blight is not controlled, leaving growers free to choose an alternative basic seed treatment.

Price is £10/t less than Jockey treatment, putting it on a par with Latitude. &#42

LATITUDE FACTS

&#8226 Top notch take-all control.

&#8226 Two-thirds yield recovery.

&#8226 Aids earlier drilling.

&#8226 No establishment check.

&#8226 Fully available at £150-£160/t.