Wednesday Tec Talk: Fungicides

This new segment will be a short weekly podcast talking about something from the technical side of farming which could include anything from a discussion on ground cover to herbicide usage, worms in sheep or the application of new technology. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it.

Today’s tec talk is on the use of fungicides in broad acre cropping, why they are used, how they are used and how they work.

Cercospora in Faba Beans (GRDC)

Why: All plants are susceptible to fungal disease but some plants such Chickpeas, Faba Beans, Barley and Canola are more likely to be affected than others, this is particularly true in periods of extended wet weather. There are many types of fungal disease that affect different areas of plant and cause different symptoms but they all affect the plant in one of two ways. Diseases that attack the roots of plants can cause parts of root to die off limiting the ability of the plant to take up water and nutrients, while diseases that attack the leaves of the plants cause parts of the leaf to die restricting the plants ability to make energy through photosynthesis as well as limiting the transport of energy and nutrients through the plant. This all reduces yield potential.

How: There are two basic ways to apply a fungicide to a crop, one through a seed treatment why the other is through a foliar application in crop. A seed treatment is one of the best ways to apply a fungicide to a crop as it gives the crop protection from day one, this allows for healthy root growth and gives the crop its best chance for a good establishment. It is also the only way to get root protection from a fungicide as foliar fungicide generally only protects the leaf, however a seed treatment generally also gives some level of systemic protection to the leaves and seed head/pods depending on the plant and seed treatment. The other way to apply a fungicide is through a foliar application which helps to protect the leaf from a fungal infection. These treatments are generally applied in front of a rain event as they infection events and tend to last for two to four weeks depending on the crop and product.

How they Work: The important thing to remember with fungicides is that they don’t cure an infection they just prevent further infection. So it is important to to get them on the crop before and infection event occurs, however this still needs to be managed with the level of risk to avoid unnecessary expenditure. In a low risk environment a producer may wait until they see the first sign of disease before they apply a fungicide while in a high risk environment a grower apply a fungicide before disease in detected to prevent a initial infection. This is where seed treatments can have a particular advantage as they are protecting the plant from germination.

Overall fungicides are essential part of managing a crop and protecting it against disease ensuring maximum yield potential. Hopefully this brief article and podcast were of use to you.

Leaf Rust (Vic DPI)

Published by Martin

I'm a UNI student at UNE in Armidale, I've worked on a cotton farm from in Moree NSW and have spent a year working on a cattle station in the NT. I have a passion for agriculture, aviation and promoting agriculture in Australia.

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