31 July 1998

Variety choice starts ICM

INTEGRATED crop management is more widely practised than growers are given credit for, says a leading ag-chem distributor.

Variety choice is the start of the process.

"This years yellow rust epidemic has, strangely enough, served a useful purpose," says Brown Butlins David Stormonth. "It demonstrates what happens if ICM is not practised.

"Brigadier has little or no inherent ability to resist yellow rust and even full rate fungicide treatments have turned out to give shorter persistence than many would have expected.

"Growers who relied on agrochemicals alone for crop protection this season are likely to be disappointed when the combines start rolling," he says.

Cost effective disease control next season will only be achieved with a combination of chemical fungicide treatment, inherent plant resistance and rotation. Then fungicide rates can be cut to give cost effective disease protection. Growers must take this on board when choosing which variety to plant this autumn, stresses Dr Stormonth.

With the hype of new chemistry there is a danger we forget varietal implications. Chemistry alone is not the answer and it never was. A combination of cultural techniques, genetic viability and new chemistry is the correct approach. That is ICM in modern parlance, he concludes. &#42