A new joint campaign to raise awareness of the potential issues of fungicide resistance in key cereal crops and provide practical guidance to growers and agronomists to help manage for it, has been launched by Syngenta and BASF in the UK.
The TON (Take Ownership Now) campaign aims to:
Examine the way that fungicide resistance develops
Understand the potential economic impact of resistance on farm
Offer clear guidelines to achieve responsible use of available fungicide chemistry
Both companies believe it is an important issue for the future of UK cereal production and by coming together it underlines the significance of the issue.
According to leading independent resistance expert, Dr Fiona Burnett of SRUC, there is a clear need for stewardship to preserve fungicide performance.
Fungicide resistance goes across borders, so it is a collective responsibility in which everyone can play a part, Dr Burnett explains.
The impact of fungicide resistance on farm is clear, driving up disease levels and reducing yield and quality, leaving fewer fungicide options for control. Our issues are particularly acute in the UK because we have high disease pressure and high fungicide usage. The need for proper stewardship of the tools we have has never been greater.
Key messages from the TON launch for protecting fungicide performance on-farm for both wheat and barley:
A robust programme early in the season is important to avoid chasing disease
Multiple modes of action help to delay the onset of resistance. Also, preventive treatment will allow use of a wider range of active ingredients, which will reduce resistance selection pressure
Triazole efficacy against Septoria tritici is declining especially curative activity. Therefore use as protectants to get the best levels of control
Triazoles are important to protect SDHIs, but SDHIs also protect triazoles. Preventative applications of multi-site fungicides are important to protect triazoles as well as SDHIs
Driving for yield is the way to ensure good margins, even with low commodity prices; in wheat the long term average fungicide response > 2t/ha (+250+/ha)
According to agricultural economist Graham Redman of The Andersons Centre, if resistance reduces the effectiveness of inputs, it could have a substantial impact on the economic performance of cereal crops.
He added that fungicides still provide a significant return on investment, so it is vital that growers and their agronomists sit down together and take into account the agronomic and financial impact of the fungicides programmes planned for the spring.
Pointing to farm modelling for feed wheat for 2015, he says that a drop in wheat yield, for example due to fungicide resistance, would push up the cost of production per tonne. Alternatively, he says resistance could result in having to spend more just to maintain the same output.
New approaches will be needed if resistance to fungicides increases, points out Mr Redman. So while weve got good fungicides, lets look after them so they work for years to come. Output has to be maintained.
The TON Campaign will continue throughout the spring providing practical, best practice advice for managing for resistance on- farm.