Old and new threats
As part of the Real Results Circle initiative, BASF is working closely with ADAS, giving unique and in-depth insight into the challenges wheat growers are expected to face this season.
“Wheat crops in the field are looking pretty good. Most were drilled in good conditions, have established well and look like they have some good yield potential. Crops are well set for the season ahead,” that’s the positive assessment of this year’s wheat crops from Jonathan Blake, Principal Research Scientist, ADAS.
“The two main disease control issues are always going to be Septoria and yellow rust and I’d expect them to be the prime issues again this year,” he said.
“We are seeing more later plantings going on these days as people try to avoid blackgrass, especially in the eastern counties, and this will have some impact on what foliar disease will be more prevalent.
At the moment we think later sowings may make the crop slightly less susceptible to Septoria and there is some evidence to suggest that later sowings may be actually more prone to yellow rust and mildew. We may see mildew in crops becoming a greater issue,” said Mr Blake.
“Septoria is the biggest problem. There have been some concerning changes in SDHI sensitivity in laboratory tests and glasshouse tests that indicate there may be a few isolates, a few types of Septoria that are looking a little less susceptible to SDHIs. If they increased significantly in the population it could be, in time, that the SDHIs become less effective, but we are not there yet. The SDHIs are still working. From an efficacy perspective the chemistry we have will work this coming year,” he said.
Ben Freer, Business Development Manager for BASF said, “This season figures from NIAB Seedstats show that it is likely that almost a third of varieties in the ground are at risk from Septoria, a fifth from yellow rust and over half from eyespot.
Last season a new yellow rust race – Invicta has emerged hot on the heels of the Kranich race discovered the previous year. This, coupled with varietal shifts in resistance to yellow rust, means that keeping wheat crops free of this disease is challenging.”
Mr Blake said, “Of the varieties in the ground there are certainly some which are a cause for concern. Vigilance will be key. The Recommended List changed its rating for a number of varieties this year. They looked at the ratings from last year and last year alone to set their scores by which is good because it means that what we are looking at is the most recent information.
“Growers can’t afford to be complacent about any variety on the Recommended List as we don’t know where it is all going to go this year. No variety is safe. This in itself is a reason why we should monitor crops through the season. Every variety should be treated individually; decisions can be based on the best information we have available, but we have to monitor to ensure that hasn’t changed
Yellow rust is entirely controlled by the weather and a lack of frosts through March and April leads to its development. It can be stopped or at least slowed up by frosts but in conditions where we have warm or mild starts to the spring then yellow rust can develop.”
Tim Short, BASF Marketing Campaign Manager for Cereal Fungicides, said, “Faced with yield robbing Septoria and uncertainty over yellow rust resistance growers need to be confident that the fungicide programme they invest in will provide broad spectrum disease protection for their crops both in a protectant situation and in a curative one because the ever increasing unpredictability of the British weather can put a spanner in the works of even the best laid spraying plans.
There can be no ifs, no buts; growers need to know that the investment they are making in their crop will pay off; getting high yields and achieving greater margins.”