You are here: News > Insights

You are viewing 1 of your 2 free articles

You’ll need to join us by becoming a member to gain more access.
Already a Member?

Login Join us now

Maize disease control: UK approved fungicide for eyespot and northern leaf blight

The increase in the acreage of maize being grown in the UK, more latterly as a result of feedstock demand from the growing number of anaerobic digestion (AD) plants, has brought with it increasing disease pressure.
Twitter Facebook

For the first time growers have a fully approved fungicide option for control of the two most common and increasingly prevalent diseases in maize. This follows the launch of Propiconazole+azoxystrobin co-formulation Quilt Xcel from Syngenta.


Speaking at the launch of the new fungicide, NIAB TAG plant pathologist Dr Jane Thomas outlined the threat to yield posed by the two main foliar diseases – maize eyespot (Kabatiella zeae, now known as Aureobasidium zeae) and northern corn leaf blight (Helminthosporium).


Early die-back of maize as a result of these diseases can severely affect yields of forage maize and feedstock for biogas production.


Yield losses as a result of foliar disease can reach 50 per cent, says Syngenta, and there is anecdotal evidence of virtually complete crop losses following severe outbreaks of eyespot in commercial crops in recent seasons. Crop quality can also be affected.


Fungicide control options have until now been limited to flusilazole – now withdrawn (stocks must be used by October 12, 2014) – and pyraclostrobin under an Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use (EAMU).


In addition, maize breeders are working to provide varietal resistance, says Dr Thomas.


Syngenta maize portfolio manager Wouter Keppens says eyespot is the most damaging leaf disease of maize crops when conditions are right for its development.


He says: “In cool and wet seasons, infection can cut the maize growing season by several weeks at a time when plants should be putting on the maximum cob grain fill.”


UK experience of the disease in recent seasons – 2011 and 2012 – has demonstrated the epidemic potential of the disease, with crops being harvested early and warnings of limited forage supply and quality.


Mr Keppens says: “In the UK, eyespot most typically occurs in the South and West, but can occur anywhere during wet weather. First infection can occur from early second leaf growth stage but is not usually seen until later in the season.”


Northern leaf blight was first identified in the UK in 2008 but with climatic conditions favourable to its development and the increase in industrial maize cropping, its incidence is expected to increase in coming years.


He says: “Wet soils and damp leaf surfaces in humid conditions appear most conductive to rapid infection. Initial spots can spread by more than 1cm in just 24 hours, leading to rapid leaf loss.”


While leaf blight itself does not give rise to harmful mycotoxins, research has shown infections can make plants more susceptible to other fungi capable of producing mycotoxins, including fusarium and aspergillus, Mr Keppens adds.


According to Maize Growers Association agronomist Simon Draper, applying a fungicide to maize provides some insurance against crop loss.


He says: “For a big livestock producer who does not have sufficient feedstocks elsewhere, I would suggest it is an insurance policy.”


But the decision to use one is largely weather-driven. “In a hot, dry year, I would advise you do not go [with a fungicide].”


Conversely, in a high disease pressure season, two fungicides may be required. “If it is a cold, wet June, we will probably spray,” says Mr Draper.


With the aim being to protect big leaves at the top of the maize canopy, advice is to leave fungicide applications as late as possible, which will be determined by the clearance of the sprayer.


Mr Draper says: “My recommendation is to spray as late as you can as you will need the persistence. The last possible time you can get through the crop is the time to go.”


His advice is echoed by Syngenta maize field technical manager Simon Roberts.


Mr Roberts says: “For best results, application should be as late as possible through the flowering period to minimise the impact of late occurring diseases.


“If early symptoms are identified, however, early intervention will protect uninfected plants and prevent further spread of leaf diseases.


“In practice, application timing is going to be dictated by the physical ability to spray in tall plants as the crop grows.”


In 2013, only about 5 per cent of the maize crop received a fungicide application, while in 2012 the figure was probably 70-80 per cent, says Mr Draper.


Quilt Xcel

  • Azoxystrobin+propiconazole co-formulation containing 141g/litre azoxystrobin and 122g/litre propiconazole
  • One application per crop
  • Curative and protectant activity
  • Persistency of four to six weeks
  • For control of maize eyespot and leaf blight
  • No delay to cob maturity following use
  • Label recommendation for one application of one litre/ha at any time from stem elongation (GS30) to end of flowering (GS69)
  • Up to 75 per cent reduction in severity of eyespot infection seen from a single application
  • Average yield benefit 5-10 per cent in NIAB trials in 2013
  • Pricing to be confirmed
Twitter Facebook
Rating (0 vote/s)
Post a Comment
To see comments and join in the conversation please log in.

More Insights

A passion for cow families at Erie herd

Last year’s Royal Welsh Show was a career peak for Iwan Morgan and his family’s Erie herd, taking both the inter-breed champion and reserve in the dairy ring. Laura Bowyer catches up with him at home in Carmarthenshire.

New research shows the difference in profitability between bulls and steers

Margins from bull beef, back to basics for grassland management, and using rather than just gathering data were talking points at AHDB’s recent Beef Live event at Harper Adams University. Simon Wragg reports.

Showcasing homebred champions on the world stage

The pride of showing any animal is a feeling that resonates with many farmers and for equestrian couple, Jonathan Batt and Claire Parsons, it is what fuels their ambition to produce the best possible horses.

Off camera with Meinir

On or off screen, Meinir Howells is regularly spotted in sheep rings across Wales. Presenting the S4C coverage of the show, she brings all the excitement to living rooms across Wales and beyond. Laura Bowyer reports.

Popes Simmentals return after record breaking year

History was made by the Wood family and their Simmental herd last year, as they took inter-breed pair championships at both the Royal Welsh and Great Yorkshire with homebred stock. Alex Robinson went to meet the breeders
FG Insight and FGInsight.com are trademarks of Briefing Media Ltd.
Farmers Guardian and FarmersGuardian.com are trademarks of Farmers Guardian Ltd, a subsidiary of Briefing Media Ltd.
All material published on FGInsight.com and FarmersGuardian.com is copyrighted © 2016 by Briefing Media Limited. All rights reserved.
RSS news feeds