East Anglian sugar beetcrops have had an outstanding growing season, with real potential for highyields if they can be kept clean and green through the autumn.
Syngenta technical manager, Simon Roberts, reported trials at the companys Innovation Centre nearRougham, Suffolk, have shown untreated plots are now severely affected by Rustand Ramularia – highlighting the current disease pressures.
A preventative Spyraletreatment last month has proved highly effective in keeping disease out.However, a second application would now be required to bolster protection overthe coming weeks, he advised.
Mr Roberts advocatedSpyrale would be the first choice where crops are currently clean, with theoption for Priori Xtra if there was already some disease present – to includethe benefit of both triazole curativity and strobilurin chemistry.
With the recent wetweather we would have expected Rust to be the predominant threat to sugar beet,but we have also seen Powdery Mildew outbreaks in the eastern counties, even inotherwise clean crops, he warned. Clearly growers and agronomist need to lookat a broad-spectrum fungicide strategy.
Mr Roberts highlighted theincrease in crops destined to be left in the field for just-in-time liftingbefore direct delivery to factories reinforced the need to protect green leaffor as long as possible enabling a cleaner lift by harvesters and providingessential frost protection of root crowns.
Lincolnshire sugar beetgrower and contractor, Richard Ivatt, has seen the benefit of improved greenleaf retention from a Spyrale-based fungicide programme; British Sugar is urgingus to micro-top so as not to cut into the crown, but they dont want any leafmaterial going into the factory.
That is virtuallyimpossible if you have dead rubbery leaves on the plant that wrap around thescalper knife, according to Mr Ivatt. With a healthy upright green leaf wecan achieve higher yields of a much more consistent, cleaner top and improvedroot quality. He says it is abundantly clear to the harvester operator whichcrops have had a two or three spray fungicide treatment.
With beet in the groundfor longer, better green leaf retention has allowed it continue putting onyield right through the autumn and winter, he added.