The best choice in seed treatments is changing - Elders Rural Services

The best choice in seed treatments is changing

Every farmer knows you can’t afford to keep repeating yourself. Like top sporting teams, cropping programs need constant renewal to maintain the same level of success.

Chemical rotations need regular updating to avoid over-reliance on ‘old stagers’ and keep proven performers in the mix by supplementing them with newer options.

If you’re in danger of repeating too much the way you treat cereal and canola seed, BASF has some excellent solutions.

Systiva® seed treatment is so well known as the first-choice fungicide in barley, that its value as a rotational option to control Septoria tritici blotch (STB) in wheat is easily overlooked.

Over the last few seasons, Septoria tritici blotch has been getting more widespread and more severe in higher rainfall areas said BASF’s portfolio manager for seed treatments Shannon Altomare.

“Wheat growers who haven’t traditionally bothered with a seed dressing for STB should reconsider the potential damage they’re risking.

“Some growers who do use seed dressings in wheat have traditionally depended on triazoles, which have done a great job of suppression over the years. But now that there are identified strains of disease around that are resistant to both Group 3 and Group 11 fungicides, switching to Systiva will help take the pressure off the older chemistry with no loss of efficacy.

That will protect the young crop against STB, rhizoctonia and smut; promote more vigorous establishment, and help extend the useful life of the older products,” she said.

As barley growers on the Yorke Peninsula have shown over the last two seasons, switching crop varieties can also help manage resistance issues.

For some time, both forms of net blotch in the region have been showing resistance to DMI chemistry. That wasn’t a huge issue, because Systiva had been the growers’ favourite fungicide since it was launched, and barley treated with Systiva had a higher level of longer lasting protection against the two diseases that any foliar fungicide could provide. The appearance of SDHI-resistant net form net blotch in Spartacus barley crops 2019 however, caused some alarm.

A little fine-tuning of local programs soon got things back on track. In the two years since, there has been plenty of high-yielding, healthy barley grown across the Peninsula, much of it treated with Systiva. The key changes have been simply growing less susceptible varieties and ensuring that the same crops and chemistry aren’t chosen for the same paddock year after year.

It’s all about having – and using – a range of options.

For canola growers targeting blackleg, ILeVO® has already been widely adopted to provide an alternative mode of action and a higher level of protection than older treatments.

“Trials have shown that ILeVO is very effective, with proven yield benefits,” Ms Altomare said, “and a high proportion of this year’s canola crops will once again be protected by it.”

As in barley, variety selection is also important. Blackleg is so prevalent and damaging that no fungicide will eliminate all risk. But the right combination of variety and treatment can keep profits healthy.

“Extensive trials have confirmed that ILeVO has no negative impact on germination rates or hypocotyl length. It will help boost yield, not limit it, so there’s no trade-off involved. Growers can choose high-yielding varieties with the appropriate blackleg rating and know ILeVO will help maximise their return on that investment.”

Article written by BASF Australia for Seasons magazine. 

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