Consider disease risk before sowing

A LARGE proportion of next season’s winter wheat could be at high risk from major diseases, according to independent variety consultant Richard Fenwick.

He has looked at the predicted area of each variety to be planted this autumn and their ratings for resistance to a range of diseases – anything rated 5 or less will be at high risk, he said.

Septoria tritici is the biggest threat, with some 47% of varieties likely to be at high risk. Other major disease threats could be: Eyespot, 71%; Yellow rust, 32%; Fusarium ear blight, 31% and Brown rust, 11%, he explained.

“Growers need to be aware of the risk and should look at a number of factors such as variety, previous cropping, time of sowing, seed treatments and farm history when developing fungicide strategies.”

BASF’s Jonathan Tann added: “This spring again showed how critical the T1 fungicide timing is, but sometimes the weather has other ideas. With profitability threatened – specifically in first wheats – growers can’t afford to take any risks.”

He recommends treating susceptible varieties with a seed treatment such as Epona (fluquinconazole + prochloraz).

Five varieties look set to account for 50% of the wheat market next season, with the remainder being made up of 10 others, occupying 2-5% market share each, added Mr Fenwick.

Robigus, Einstein, Claire, consort and Gladiator will remain the most popular, although there may be some minor fluctuations he predicted.

Solstice could increase slightly, as growers are attracted by its potential milling premium. The area of Einstein may slip slightly, as some crops failed to get a premium this season, but it will remain a popular choice due to its good yield and quality, he said.


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