SUGAR BEET growers should be planning to spray crops for powdery mildew this season, one expert has advised.
Due to cold weather in February, the current disease forecast is moderate at 32%, but warm and dry conditions over the summer could see higher levels developing, warned Broom’s Barn’s Mike Asher.
“Only if growers are confident of meeting their quota requirements, or are considering very early lifting at the end of September, and the disease comes in late, will a spray not be required.”
The disease normally spreads across the country from east to west and growers should start looking for signs of it in late July or early August, he said. “Growers in the Ipswich area are usually the first to report it.”
Crops should be sprayed as soon as the disease is spotted, or even if it is anticipated in July or August, he said.
They should also be aware that some new, high yielding varieties, with partial rhizomania resistance on the Recommended List this year are very susceptible to foliar disease, with ratings of three or less.
“As these varieties become widely grown, the foliar diseases – particularly mildew and rust – will become worse.” In future years growers may need to consider applying a second spray, he added.
See the Sugar Beet Focus in this week’s FARMERS WEEKLY magazine (July 15-21) for the latest on beet fungicides, varieties and maximising profits in the face of sugar reform.