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Protecting canopies from disease will be key to helping backward crops make the most of summer sunshine and build yield.

The results of nearly 10 years of trials indicates that crops do best when fungicides are applied at the first signs of disease. While timing is crucial to performance, avoid spraying crops suffering drought stress and during the warmth of the day.

Rust remains the principal disease concern although the warm conditions mean powdery mildew should not be overlooked, especially in areas where an early morning dew has been noted.

“The lesson of the past two years is to apply the first fungicide at full-label rate as soon as disease is detected, maintain water rates of at least 200 litres/ha to ensure canopy penetration and follow up with a second fungicide, also at the full-label rate, around 28 days later to give crops the protection they need,” says Jack Hill, Bayer technical manager for Norfolk.

The physiological benefits of fungicides, in particular Escolta (cyproconazole + trifloxystrobin) with its strobilurin component has been found to give crops an added boost.

Maintaining clean and active canopies will support photosynthesis through until lifting and give crops the opportunity to keep building yield. This is likely to be vital to crop performance this season, believes Mr Hill.

“Trials demonstrate that crops which receive two full-rate applications of Escolta consistently out-yield those receiving other treatments because they fare better heading into the winter,” he says.

In 2017 Bayer trials found that the second application of Escolta at 0.35L/ha added 12t/ha over untreated to December-lifted crops and almost 26t/ha to February-lifted crops. There was high rust pressure through the summer of 2017 and this put greater pressure on the second spray. Opting for a single application or selecting less effective chemistry didn’t give the necessary disease protection.

“Across all lifting dates the average yield response in 2017 for crops receiving two full applications of Escolta was 14.9t/ha, this is worth £335/ha with beet at £22.50/t,” he adds.

If you have any questions, please contact your local CTM or Tweet @Bayer4CropsUK.

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