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New approach to barley disease shows results

(L to R) Tom McInerney, Primaries Gnowangerup, Agronomist Glenn Nichols and Boom Spray Operator, and Brad & Wayne Tapscott, Farm Owner/Operators.
(L to R) Tom McInerney, Primaries Gnowangerup, Agronomist Glenn Nichols and Boom Spray Operator, and Brad & Wayne Tapscott, Farm Owner/Operators.

With disease pressure on barley an ongoing concern for growers in Western Australia’s south-west, growers like Wayne Tapscott are keen for new solutions.

Faced with growing leaf rust and spot type net blotch on his barley, Wayne ran a trial at his Gnowangerup property last year to evaluate different treatments.

“We were looking for options and our agronomist suggested we trial UNIFORM® on a high pressure area,” says Wayne.

“A paddock that was part of a property we bought four years ago had previously been sown with Baudin barley, a real sucker for disease. We then ran two years of Bass on it.”

“So even though it was really clean, we knew the disease pressure on that paddock would be high.”

Working with his agronomist, Tom McInerney from Primaries Gnowangerup and Synergy Consulting, Wayne ran a four-strip replicated trial comparing the performance of the Fungicide UNIFORM to Impact®.

Syngenta’s UNIFORM Fungicide can be used on both barley and wheat crops. Applied in-furrow either with fertiliser or as a liquid below the seed, on barley it has strong efficacy against barley leaf rust, net type net blotch, spot type net blotch and powdery mildew.

With treatments applied with the Flexi-N at the May sowing, the first strip was treated with Impact, the second strip was treated with UNIFORM at a half rate of 200 ml, the third a full UNIFORM rate of 400 ml, and the fourth strip was left untreated.

Wayne said the performance of UNIFORM was impressive.

“It was really interesting to see the difference in the treatments, especially as it was not a flash year for disease and the Bass had disease pretty much as soon as it came out of the ground.”

“However the strips treated with UNIFORM went really well with the crops really standing out as being healthier.”

“What was also interesting was the biggest benefit came from the half rate of UNIFORM. The untreated strip went 2.4 tonnes and the Impact strip about the same but both the 200 ml & 400 ml rates of UNIFORM gave a similar yield benefit.”

Tom McInerney says the success of UNIFORM at the 200 ml rate showed the benefits to growers in terms of yield and cost.

“It showed UNIFORM is streaks ahead of Impact, which a lot of growers have typically used to treat disease. At the 200 ml rate, UNIFORM works out only another $12-13 a hectare, which just increases its cost effectiveness, particularly when you consider the yield improvement,” says Tom.

“It could make a big difference for growers when they want to run barley-on-barley, when that disease pressure really kicks in.

Wayne, who also ran a successful wheat-on-wheat UNIFORM trial, again with strong results, although this time in favour of the stronger 400 ml rate, is this year applying UNIFORM across all his barley.

“We’re putting UNIFORM in front of all the Bass this year, not just the barley-on-barley,” commented Wayne.

“We’ll also run a second trial on around 100 hectares of wheat to see if last year’s results were just a fluke.”

“So far UNIFORM is a really strong fit for us.”

Agronomist, Tom McInerney, says barley leaf rust and spot type net blotch are having a strong impact on barley yields, especially on the more disease prone cereal-on-cereal paddocks.

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