Heavy rainfall and recent mild conditions throughout January and February has encouraged Septoria & Mildew to develop in many varieties of wheat, especially early drilled crops. In our own variety trial sites across the region we have been recording Septoria infections in most varieties. Long periods of frost may well slow down or reduce infection levels but regular monitoring will be required in the coming weeks. Although we have some very susceptible rust varieties on the current recommended list, no infections have been recorded at any our trial sites to date, but a sudden change in weather pattern could easily affect some of these varieties as we saw l this time last year.
What factors should we be considering at this early fungicide timing in wheats? Drilling date, crop growth, current disease levels, potential disease levels, variety & weather conditions are all factors which we need to assess at this early timing. There is very little effective fungicide chemistry available for curative action against Septoria, which is why an early protectant application is essential if ideal Septoria conditions persist. The objective of this first fungicide application is to provide a good foundation for future fungicide applications during the season.
Product choice at this timing will include a multi site active with or without a triazole fungicide, depending on the above factors. Aim to secure your requirements early because the supply of many actives will be either be scarce or arrive later than anticipated from overseas destinations.