Smaller growers can gain more from natural disease resistance

Greater use of varieties’ disease resistances could help more growers save money on disease control, according to former Association of Independent Crop Consultants (AICC) chairman Peter Taylor.

Speaking at the HGCA workshop, he suggested that resistance was especially valuable on small farms able to ensure spot-on spray timings.

Large farms often had to adopt just one or two spray programmes according to their blocks of varieties. “They don’t necessarily have time to chop and change.”

But smaller farms employing inherent genetic resistance, knowing their disease “hotspots” and able to spray everything quickly, could fine-tune treatments to economise without too much risk.

“If your system allows, take advantage of the ratings to modestly reduce costs.”

Trials last year showed fungicide responses of 5-30% depending on location, he noted. “Know your farm – some sites inherently have lower responses. If you’d spent £60/ha on a programme you would have lost money if you only got 5%.”

Mr Taylor urged growers and agronomists to use the HGCA-funded UKCPV diversification tables to better understand and plan for the risk of yellow rust spreading between varieties.

Read more from the HGCA workshop

Light life spot and ramularia predicted to hit more crops this season.
HGCA to update nozzle guide in time for Cereals.
Growers reminded to monitor rainfall for mycotoxin risk.