Growers are warned to stay vigilant for signs of powdery mildew in wheat and barley crops this spring.
With the relatively mild winter, the disease has already been seen in pockets across England and Scotland. So, the focus in the next couple of weeks will be getting the timing of T0 applications correct, and getting crops off to the best possible start as we come out of the winter months, explains Nigel Riches, arable technical specialist at Certis.
“Time will tell how the season pans out. Powdery mildew is always a potential threat at this time of the year. However, if we continue to see warm and damp conditions it could be a disease to really watch out for this year, particularly in coastal areas, in the north and west of the country.
“With crops establishing well, we’re seeing thicker, lush canopies which creates a microclimate for disease, and what we’re starting to see is a lot of older crops heavily infected with powdery mildew which then infects new leaves.
“It’s a vicious circle, hence the importance of preventing disease before it takes hold,” says Mr Riches.
He explains that a fungicide that delivers both protectant and eradicant activity provides growers with a level of flexibility and security for staying one step ahead of disease this season.
“It’s all about getting crops off to a good start. Mildew is a disease that overwinters on green matter, and will develop in the right conditions.
“Although the impact to yield is generally not as costly as we see with the likes of Septoria, powdery mildew infection can still impact the bottom line, so it’s worth investing in an effective mildewicide,” he says.
In this year’s AHDB fungicide performance data, cyflufenamid, the active ingredient in Certis’ fungicides Cyflamid and Vegas, was proven to have a four-star performance rating for the control of powdery mildew in wheat, and a three-star performance rating for both protectant and eradicant activity in barley.
“We always say that prevention is better than a cure, and making T0 applications a priority for the control of powdery mildew could be the difference between a good and a great crop this year.
“The advantage of fungicides such as Cyflamid and Vegas is the fact that it still has the ability to nip powdery mildew in the bud if it becomes a reoccurring problem later in the season. Ultimately, it provides a level of reassurance, particularly for those growing very susceptible varieties,” says Mr Riches.