WALK into a French co-ops agrochemical store and some names will be familiar now – but many have still to reach the UK.
The top selling fungicides in France this year are expected to be Opus (epoxiconazole), Opus Team (Opus + fenpropimorph), Alto (cyproconazole), Unix (cyprodinil) and Caramba (metconazole) – the latter two still awaiting UK registration. Epoxiconazole, now in its fifth year in France, has by far the largest share of the market.
Next year, French growers will get their first chance to use the new strobilurin fungicides, BASFs kresoxim-methyl and Zenecas azoxystrobin.
Use of tebuconazole (Folicur) is thought to have dropped by about a third this year because of concern about its weaker control of septoria over the past two years.
According to Jean-Baptiste Hue, of Cyanamid France, independent lab results on septoria isolates show declining activity by tebuconazole between 1993 and 1995, compared with metconazole, which rose slightly then steadied over the same period.
However, he points out that both materials are useful against rusts and fusarium diseases.
Metconazole, which was registered in France as Caramba, is highly active against septoria, rusts, and rhynchosporium, and has moderate activity against powdery mildew and net blotch.
Unix, which is due in the UK next year from Novartis, is being adopted by northern French wheat growers who have encountered development of eyespot resistance to prochloraz (Sportak) in some areas.
In eyespot-prone areas, most advisers are now recommending the use of Unix early, followed by a powerful triazole for septoria, and possibly a third spray against ear diseases.
Most French cereal growers opt for a two-spray strategy, with about a third going for three applications.
The strengthened pound makes agrochemical prices seem lower than in the UK, although the real cost to the French grower is probably greater in real purchasing terms. Opus cost FF250/litre (equivalent to £25/litre) this season, while Horizon (tebuconazole) was priced at FF210 (£21) and Caramba (metconazole) at FF160 (£16).
Some of the top selling fungicides in France will
be familiar to you – others wont. David Millar sheds light on their chemical stores.