Act fast to minimise viral spreading - Elders Rural Services
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Act fast to minimise viral spreading

When aphids start to multiply in broadacre crops, there’s always a danger the infestation will turn into the sort of ‘super spreader event’ we’ve heard so much about in connection to the pandemic.

In this case, there are multiple viruses involved and it’s your crops and yields that are at risk.

Acting fast is the key to limiting damage. A new control option from BASF can now shut down the risk of infection in as little as 15 minutes after spraying. That’s a crucial number because 15 to 30 minutes of feeding is all aphids need to infect crops. Diseases such as Turnip Yellows Virus (TuYV) can reduce canola yields by as much as 50 per cent if the crop is infected before bolting.

Step one – spot the aphids early

Inspect canola crops at budding and early flowering to check among the buds and flowering heads. If you can catch them you can spray the crop before dense clusters form, and it becomes harder to get spray coverage of all the aphids.

Now that it’s registered for use in canola, wheat and barley as well as fruit and vegetable crops, Versys® Insecticide is an ideal choice for that first spray. Versys disrupts the aphids’ nervous systems and affects their hearing and balance, inducing a ‘dance’: constant jittery movements that prevent any further feeding – and virus transmission – much more quickly than other insecticides.

Versys is exceptionally efficient in other ways too. Its excellent trans-laminar and acropetal mobility will control target pests on the underside of sprayed leaves, and it’s effective at low rates. Given that the formulation already has low toxicity, using it at those low label rates poses very little risk to pollinators and the common beneficial arthropods like predatory mites.

Roger States, BASF Broadacre Crop Protection Portfolio Manager, said Versys has already proved its effectiveness and excellent fit with integrated pest manangement programs in local horticulture.

“It’s been a big hit with fruit and vegie growers, and now we expect broadacre farmers will find it adds a lot of value in the canola phase of their rotations,” Mr States added.

“Versys will do a great job in wheat and barley as well, but aphid-spread viruses have more economic impact in canola so you’ll get a bigger return on your investment.”

Mr States added that Versys is the only product in the new Group 9D mode-of-action sub-group and can also strengthen growers’ resistance management programs.

“There are some obvious immediate benefits to adding Versys to the insect control program,” he continued “but the bigger picture is the longer-term need to keep taking advantage of new chemistry without waiting until other control methods stop working.”

The BASF technical team recommends incorporating Versys into a pro-active approach to aphid management that includes:

  • controlling summer weeds to prevent a green bridge, then
  • monitoring canola crops at five points in each paddock with 20 plants at each point,
  • backing up Versys with biological controls like hover flies, lacewings, ladybirds and damsel bugs, and rotating between chemical groups if more than two sprays are required.

With so much potential yield loss at stake, controlling aphid infestations as early as possible is critical. The addition of a new ‘high speed’ solution to the insecticidal rotation makes controlling virus transmission just that little bit easier.

Article written by BASF for Seasons magazine. 

Purchase your supply of BASF’s Versys from your local Elders store now.

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