14 September 2001

Take-all treatment launch under fire

AT least 3-4% of this autumns wheat is set to receive novel take-all seed treatment Latitude (silthiofam). But the area could have been far greater had it not been for the makers distribution policy, says one seed supplier.

Even before fresh orders for stocks from Belgium were placed, Latitude (silthiofam) was on target to exceed the market share achieved by rival product Jockey (fluquinconazole + prochloraz) last autumn, says Monsantos Roger James.

But Trevor Cope, of Goreham and Bateson, which took over the former Dalgety seed plant at Swaff-ham, Norfolk, in July, believes the policy of marketing Latitude through preferred agrochemical distributors has limited its sales, not-ably on new winter wheat Tanker.

Mr James says that since the treatment was UK approved in June opportunities to ensure quality control of application have been limited. Overall about two-thirds of seed processors (slightly less for mobiles) have access to the product.

Meanwhile, latest NIAB trials results show Latitude giving, on average, an extra £37/ha (£15/acre) from 18 second wheats on take-all sites over two years.

At seven of the nine sites, where levels of take-all were moderate or worse, adding the dressing to a basic seed treatment boosted mean return to £51/ha (£21/acre). The figures are based on wheat at £75/t with Latitude costing £25.92/ha at a seed rate of 160kg/ha.

Yield response to Latitude treatment, excluding two varieties not reaching the UK Rec-ommended List, was 0.72t/ha (0.29t/acre). The most responsive were Madrigal, Savannah and Equinox giving an extra 1.34, 1.30 and 1.24t/ha respectively.

"You can expect a response of 0.5-1t/ha according to variety in at-risk fields," says NIAB pathologist Bruce Napier. "Last winter was wet enough to encourage take-all, so levels were fairly high this year." However, foot-and-mouth restricted inspections, so the full extent of field infection is unclear, he says. &#42

TACKLING TAKE-ALL

&#8226 3-4% of wheat with silthiofam.

&#8226 Could have been more claim.

&#8226 Boosts return by average £37/ha.

&#8226 Split-field tests best guide.