Escolta boosts beet yields

The arrival of favourable weather has spurred crop growth and sugar beet growers should be preparing to apply a T1 fungicide to protect against foliar disease and boost yield.

beet-diseaseBeet disease

The evidence supporting fungicide use is substantial and the BBRO advice to growers is clear: “It is important that all crops receive a full rate fungicide at disease onset to protect the canopy and maximise yields.”*

Escolta (cyproconazole + trifloxystrobin) is the leading sugar beet fungicide and can be relied on to give four to six weeks protection.  The first application should be made at the first signs of disease, but not before crops have met across the row. This is typically towards the end of July or beginning of August with the onset of rust.

Across 32 trials performed by Broom’s Barn, British Sugar and Bayer CropScience, from 2007 to 2012 a single spray of Escolta in July boosted yield by an average of 8 adj.t/ha, or almost 10%, over untreated sugar beet.

For crops due to be lifted from October a second application should be made at the beginning of September to maintain crop health and deliver a further boost to yield.  At this timing Escolta has been shown to further protect against rust while its combined strobilurin + triazole effects prolong photosynthetic activity, effectively building yield in to winter while protecting against frost. 

In trials, crops which received a second spray produced an extra 5.3 adj.t/ha, on average, equivalent to a combined increase from the two sprays of 17% of the untreated crop.

Despite the overwhelming evidence supporting the use of Escolta roughly 13% of the UK crop fails to receive even a single fungicide application while about 15% of the crop lifted after October misses out on a second application. In both cases BBRO data suggest growers are foregoing significant additional profit.

This season a spray of Escolta costs about a tonne of beet and, from these trials results, a two spray programme can be expected to pay for itself and add more than 10 adj.t/ha to yield; adding more than £300/ha to enterprise output.

*BBRO Weekly Advisory Bulletin - W/C 8th July 2013