21 January 2000

AICC membership is rising, already at 173 and accounting for advice on over 800,000ha (2m acres), or one-quarter of the UK arable area. Eleven new members were considered at last weeks conference, but attracting new, young members is a concern, says chairman, Peter Taylor. "As more consultants pool resources and start working in more formal groups there may be more scope to take trainees on. In the meantime, an AICC co-ordinated trials programme is now well advanced and generating truly independent information, he says. Closer relations with agchem manufacturers also ensures early access to new materials and information.

AICC membership on the increase

Ramularia hits north

RAMULARIA is a real threat to northern barley crops, but trials taken to yield last year confirm that it can be controlled with a strobilurin fungicide.

That was the message Allen Scobie, senior consultant for Perth-based Scottish Agronomy had for conference delegates. His verdict follows several years of uncertainty about the cause of severe leaf damage to winter and spring barley crops in early summer.

Pollen scorch, stress responses and even a breakdown of the mlo resistance gene had all been blamed. But Mr Scobie is now convinced the cause is ramularia. "The white fungal growth on the undersides of leaves and bleached blocks of tissue are typical. Take a hand lens and you can see the characteristic white conidia of Ramularia collo cigni."

Triazole fungicides do not provide control and may hinder where EC formulations reduce waxing.

In trials last year a two-spray programme of reduced rate Unix (cyprodinil) and Amistar delivered 7.9t/ha (3.2t/acre), over 0.5t/ha (0.2t/acre) ahead of the next closest programme. Margin over input cost was £48.70/ha (£18.70/acre), almost £10/ha (£4/acre) ahead of the closest alternative, Mr Scobie said.