A NEW seed treatment fungicide for wheat and barley has been described as a game changer after trials in found it offered effective early season control for a range of foliar diseases, significantly improving yields.
The fungicide Systiva is particularly effective on barley and brings new chemistry to seed treatment. It was tested at several sites in southern Australia in 2016 with the emphasis on control of spot form net blotch. In trials across Australia the treatment proved effective in controlling the early season development of foliar disease in barley, resulting in average yield gains of 310kg/hectare over 69 sites – an overall yield increase of 8 per cent.
Relatively few trials have been conducted on the Darling Downs yet the treatment has shown good early season control of the major foliar diseases.
Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) pathologists Greg Platz and Lisle Snyman conducted the northern most trials of Systiva, which is a Group 7 fungicide and the first succinate dehydrogenase inhibitor (SDHI) registered for use on cereals in Australia.
“Although our trial didn’t produce yield gains as significant as those in southern Australia, we still found Systiva delivered an economic benefit,” Dr Snyman said.
“In short, the product works and in our trial it delivered a $30-$40 benefit for the cost of about $15/ha.”
But she said while Systiva was registered for the control of several foliar diseases, including smuts in barley, bunt in wheat and the suppression of rhizoctonia root rot in both, it was only “very effective” for the first eight weeks of crop life.
“While the treatment works, growers need to keep in mind that one or more supplementary sprays may be required for a whole season of foliar disease control,” Dr Snyman said.
“Early season disease control slows epidemic development and increases yields where conditions after flag leaf emergence do not favour disease development.”
She said while Queensland trials had focused on Systiva’s effectiveness in controlling spot form net blotch (SFNB) more research was needed to determine the treatment’s benefits with other foliar diseases.
“In our trials Systiva was quite effective in controlling SFNB for about eight weeks after sowing.
“But under conditions where disease epidemics are likely to continue developing after eight weeks, our results indicate that the seed treatment will not be persistent enough to provide adequate protection to the main leaves contributing to crop yield after that period.
“So if growers are planning to use Systiva I would advise them to budget on at least one foliar spray in any disease management strategy.”