New technology continues to develop at an incredible pace and, for the most part, gets better with every iteration.
They do the same job, only better, faster and more efficiently.
Turf fungicides are no different, but it is important to understand why they are currently changing so quickly, and what the implications for that are.
Firstly, legislation has changed and all active ingredients have been reviewed over the last few years. The criteria for these products has tightened and increased data is available to ensure that products cause no harm to humans, the environment and soils.
If assessed and deemed unsuitable, the active ingredients may be removed completely or sometimes the amount that can be used will be reduced to a point that the product is no longer effective.
We have a team at Syngenta who specialise in studying this process and are constantly looking forward to see how our products both current and future will sit within these new and projected criteria.
These legislative changes were made around 10 years ago now and have taken until recent years to impact the turf industry. A whole range of key products have been removed from the market.
However, we are seeing new active ingredients come to market and these will meet even tighter safety criteria to ensure they will remain on the market for a long enough period to make them worthwhile.
But there’s another twist – When new products go through registration the Minimum Effective Dose is assessed. This is a process to determine the lowest dose the product can be used in order to get satisfactory control.
So what does this mean in real life? The days of over-engineered products are over. Some of the “go to” products we used in the past had significantly more active ingredient than was needed to control diseases.
The legislation changes have been put in place to get control of these issues and ensure over applications stop and only the lowest amount of product is used to achieve satisfactory control.
How does this affect you? Products no-longer have a safety margin built into them so good application practices are essential to get the best out of the product.
Regular mistakes that I see:
- Poorly measured greens
- Rounding down of product used (e.g. 1.1Ha of greens but only using 1 Ha’s worth of product)
- Poorly calibrated sprayers
- Spray windows used not suitable
- Using nozzles and pressure ranges that are unsuitable
The below graph is one I use regularly in my presentations to show how the amount of Active ingredient in products has changed over the years.
Don’t misinterpret this chart – the modern products aren’t weak – they are incredibly potent with very advanced technology that not only meets the required criteria laid out by the Chemical Regulation Division to ensure they are safe for humans, the environment and soils but have also been proved in numerous trials to work.
The difference is there is very little margin for error in these products.
The way these products need to be used to get effective control is changing too.
The lower Active Ingredient content and far safer chemistry mean that better results are always achieved when used in a preventative program.
We have to get better at predicting and modeling disease pressure so optimum timing can be achieved.
So here’s my proposal to you: If you’ve had success or an unsuccessful season to date managing Microdochium patch and you’re happy for me to have a look at your application timings let me know on firstname.lastname@example.org or call me 07483333964.
We can work through your program and use it to help us assess best practice in the field. There’s a good chance we’ll both learn something.