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New treatment boosts disease protection and plant health

Syngenta hopes to have a new seed treatment for wheat available for planting autumn 2016

Crop protection and plant breeding company Syngenta hopes to have a new seed treatment for wheat available for planting autumn 2016. Dominic Kilburn reports.
SDX 3-way treated plants (left) and untreated.
A new active ingredient for the protection of wheat against seed- and soil-borne diseases could be available to UK growers as a seed treatment for planting in autumn 2016.
As well as providing comprehensive protection against key infections such as fusarium and michrodochium nivale, the new product will also promote root growth development and benefit crop establishment, resulting in improved yields, claims crop protection company Syngenta.
Already approved for use in European countries including France, the Czech Republic, Poland and Italy, Syngenta says that it is hoping it will achieve approval from CRD for use of new active ingredient sedaxane on wheat by mid-2016, with uses for barley to follow on after.
According to the company’s technical manager, Michael Tait (left) , speaking at Syngenta’s Jeallott’s Hill research centre, Berkshire, sedaxane is part of the SDHI family of chemicals and consequently has a lot in common with foliar-applied SDHIs such as Isopyrazam, interfering with the fungus’ energy production.
The new active will form part of a 3-way mode of action mix containing fludioxonil + difenoconazole (for the moment known as ‘SDX 3-way’), the latter two products offering good control of fusarium. “With sedaxane’s strength in controlling michrodochium nivale and rhizoctonia, it’s an outstanding combination,” Mr Tait pointed out.
“It’s difficult to get high levels of control of soil-borne diseases in particular, but this 3-way combination will do so, and improve on the market standard in wheat across a range of diseases,” he added.
Trials work with NIAB at Caythorpe (2013/2014) assessed 62 days after drilling (January 2014) confirmed that plant counts were boosted considerably by an SDX 3-way treatment where seed-borne fusarium graminearum was present, compared with those treated by the market standard and those in untreated plots.
In the same set of trials, results showed that the proportion of SDX 3-way treated crops that were infected with the disease was greatly reduced.
When trials were taken to yield and assessed on 4th August later that year, both seed treatments had performed well (between 9.5-10t/ha) compared with untreated yields at 6.5t/ha.
“Statistically there was very little difference in final yield between the seed treatments but it does show how much yield can be affected by fusarium if crops are untreated,” said Mr Tait. “People underestimate the importance of seed treatments in establishment of yield and where you have soil- or seed-borne disease, you get reduced yield.”
Syngenta trials at Rougham, in Suffolk, where high levels (70 per cent infection) of michrodochium nivale featured in wheat, also demonstrated superior crop establishment from SDX 3-way treated seed compared with the market standard treated and untreated seed, while ADAS trials in Stetchworth confirmed the new seed treatment’s high levels of control against the disease.
Mr Tait pointed out that although rhizoctonia was less known as a threat to wheat in the UK, and better known in potato crops, inoculated trials work showed a reduction from 25 per cent of plants affected by rhizoctonia cerealis in untreated plots to zero per cent when using SDX 3-way, with yield also boosted by over 2t/ha.

Below ground boost
Mr Tait said that Syngenta had seen a positive effect on below ground biomass from the use of SDX 3-way. This was confirmed in ADAS rhizoctonia solani-inoculated pot trials and also in University of Nottingham trials where root and shoot development improvements were seen in the absence of pathogen, when compared with the market standard and untreated control. “We think that the material stimulates plant auxins and faster emergence is something we also regularly see,” he concluded.

SDX 3-way disease control in wheat
– Fusarium – Snow mould (microdochium nivale)- Seedling blight (septoria nodorum)- Bunt (tilletia caries)- Loose smut (ustilago tritici)- Rhizoctonia

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