Focus on six critical areas for disease control

Wheat growers need to focus on six critical areas to optimise disease control and maximise gross margins, according to ProCam.

New figures from last year show that the top 25% of UK winter wheat growers produced gross margins nearly £160/ha higher than the average and much of this is due to getting disease control right, said ProCam’s David Ellerton.

He outlined the six key areas as:

  1. Tailor control programmes to varieties – account for disease pressure, drilling date, rotation, location and soil type
  2. Do not let diseases get established – use protectant and/ or curative sprays on prone varieties e.g. T0 against Septoria tritici in Einstein and Consort, mildew in Claire, or yellow rust in Robigus
  3. Target triazoles to disease and variety – use robust rates e.g. 50-75% at T1, 75% at T2 and 50% at T3
  4. Target strobilurins according to disease, rotational position, location, drill date, soil type and variety – apply a minimum dose of 30-50% at T1/T2 and 30% at T3
  5. Link spray timing to leaf emergence not calendar date – never extend intervals beyond four weeks. Go shorter under high disease pressure
  6. Use alternative modes of action where possible. E.g. chlorothalonil in septoria, boscalid in septoria and eyespot, fenpropimorph in mildew, yellow rust, brown rust and septoria, mancozeb in septoria, sooty moulds and rusts and proquinazid, cyflamid or quinoxyfen in mildew

Above all else, he urges growers to use sprays wisely and operate within the structure of an integrated crop management approach.