Agricultre never sits still: As technology and farmers adapt, so does pest and disease resistance. But chemical companies are constantly fighting the battle to bring new and effective products to the market.
However, administering the most effective control products has become a bit of a juggling act, with reduced efficacy on one hand and increased Government legislation on the other.
Dow AgroSciences has made strides in tackling both of these challenges and has produced a new insecticide, Isoclast Active. According to Caroline Nicholls, technical manager at independent agronomist Prime Agriculture, it belongs to a new chemical class of insecticides called sulfoximines.
“It is excellent news a different active will be added to the armoury, as there is no known resistance to it,” she explains.
“It is a contact insecticide with residual activity of about three weeks, it penetrates the leaf and works systemically.”
Isoclast Active is not on the market yet, but it should be able to provide protection against aphids and other sap-feeding insects. David Ellerton, technical development director at Hutchinsons, says it will help to target aphids which are increasingly resistant to pyrethroids, making it extremely valuable. There are a couple of new fungicides in the pipeline, says Dr Ellerton.
The first, from BASF, is an azole called Revysol.
“It is a variation on triazole fungicides and it could be very significant.”
Though triazoles have been struggling with increasing septoria resistance, Revysol has given excellent septoria control in trials even when other triazoles have performed poorly.
“It will certainly help the fight against septoria resistance and may mitigate the possible impact of legislation. It is currently being looked at in a number of trials and should be out in the near future,” he adds. It could also be the first azole launched in more than 10 years.
Dow is also set to launch a fungicide which will introduce a new group of chemistry to the mix, says Dr Ellerton.
“Inatreq’s key benefit is that it offers good control of septoria tritici and is another mode of action against wheat diseases.”
Both of the new additions to the fungicide armoury could be extremely important to future disease control, he adds. A new cereal herbicide option from Bayer, containing metribuzin, is expected to be on the market in the UK next autumn, according to Dr Ellerton.
Though it is an established active ingredient, it is a new early residual to cereals. “It adds another active ingredient to the armoury against grass-weeds. There are relatively few active ingredients against grass-weeds, so it will be good to have another option for cereal weed control.”
Oilseed rape herbicides have also come under numerous pressures and Dow has again risen to the challenge with its new herbicide, GF 3447. A post-emergence broad-leaved weed herbicide for winter oilseed rape, it contains Arylex and picloram, explains Peter Waite, oilseed rape technical specialist at Dow.
“It offers control of a wide range of weeds including cranesbill, cleavers, poppy and shepherd’s purse.
“The key thing is that it is flexible for growers and advisers alike – it can be used from September 1 [two leaves post-emergence] right through autumn,” he says.
“It also has flexible rate options for use on small weeds early on, or with a sequenced application option if there is another flush of weeds at the end of September/early October.
Otherwise, from six leaves, there is a rate option to kill large weeds later on in autumn. “Its flexibility means farmers do not have to spend money on broad-leaved weed control until they have a crop and then they can take out the key weeds when they want to,” adds Mr Waite.
It is expected to be registered in the UK for use in 2018. All of the new additions are going to be very helpful as part of an anti-resistance strategy.