7 June 2001
Thumbs-up for new take-all remedy

By Charles Abel

LONG-AWAITED take-all seed treatment from Monsanto, Latitude (silthiofam), has finally secured official approval for use on UK cereal crops this autumn.

At its launch on Thursday (07 June) product manager Roger James described it as a unique breakthrough for take-all control.

It offers a new opportunity to combat the disease, which costs UK cereal growers anything from 16 million to 55m each year, he said.

Main benefits claimed for the product are that it moves second and subsequent wheat yields closer to those of first wheats and causes no delay to emergence.

Cost is likely to be 150-160/t, working out at 20-24/ha (8-10/acre) assuming a typical seed-rate of 250-300 seeds/sqm or 160kg/ha.

That puts it at a premium to competitor product Jockey (fluquinconazole prochloraz), but take-all control is significantly better and more consistent, according to Monsanto field trials across Europe.

ADAS disease expert Bill Clark has no doubts. “You would not choose Jockey for take-all control alone, you would need to look at its foliar disease activity too.”

In over 800 trials across Europe, including 170 in the UK, yield response covered the cost of the Latitude seed treatment. Specific weight also improved, by 1-2kg/hl.

In NIAB trials at four sites last year ranging from slight to severe take-all risk, 25 recommended list trial varieties showed an average response of 1.06t/ha.

The yield benefit for some varieties, such as Savannah, Eclipse and Consort, was over 3.5t/ha.

“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,” said Monsanto technical specialist David Leaper.

Latitude does not give total control, but trials suggest it does recover up to two-thirds of the yield that would otherwise be lost to take-all, Mr Leaper explained.

Monsanto sees second wheats as the main market for Latitude, but believes it also has a role in the many early-drilled first wheats likely to be sown after the greater area of set-aside and spring barley this autumn.

“Wherever there is a take-all risk, Latitude has a role,” said Mr Leaper.

Crop safety is good, the water-based product being applied at very low rates, so easing flowability in the seed plant and farmers drill.

Latitude is fully compatible with any other single or dual-purpose seed treatment on the market, the company says.

It will be available through certified seed processors mainly, plus mobile seed cleaners, although early ordering is advised to avoid logistical problems.

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