Farmers across the Prairies are looking at high pulse prices and trying to find ways to add pulses to their 2016 rotation. Crop protection companies are ready to help, releasing new fungicides to help farmers protect their yield from diseases like ascochyta blight and anthracnose.
As with herbicides, to extend the life of fungicides and slow the development of disease resistance, provincial crop protection guides recommend that farmers rotate fungicides, using products from different Groups to control the same diseases, year after year. Fungicides are categorized into groups based on their active ingredients, and how those chemicals target the disease.
There are more than enough fungicide options in the market to make fungicide rotation possible. In fact, several of the newly-released fungicides have two modes of action.
Last year, Bayer released a new fungicide, Delaro, for use in chickpeas, peas and lentils. Delaro has two modes of action, prothioconazole and trifloxystrobin and is classified as both a Group 3 and Group 11 fungicide.
BASF’s Priaxor was launched in 2014. It also uses two modes of action, fluxapyroxad (Group 7) and pyraclostrobin (Group 11).
Now Syngenta has launched another new dual-action fungicide for the 2016 season. Elatus, says Syngenta’s technical lead for Western Canada, Robert Klewchuk, “was designed specifically for pulses.” After last year’s research experience, Klewchuk says Syngenta is, “very satisfied with how this product performs.”
Like Piaxor, Elatus is classed as both a Group 7 and a Group 11 fungicide. Its active ingredients are benzovindiflupyr (an SDHI active, or fungal respiration inhibitor that Syngenta has trademarked as Solatenol), and azoxystrobin, a mobile active within the strobilurin class of fungicides.
For now, Elatus comes in two separate jugs, for on-farm mixing. (Klewchuk says that Syngenta’s goal is to eventually sell this pre-mixed.) The application rate will be the same for all pulse crops.
Klewchuk say Elatus has residual action due to Syngenta’s new ingredient Solatenol. Solatenol, he says, polls in the waxy cuticle of the plant’s leaf and stem. “And it slowly penetrates over time.” Meanwhile, the other active ingredient works in the leaves and stem too, moving upward and outward to protect new growth.
Klewchuk recommends that farmers apply Elatus preventatively, to secure their yield and quality while protecting their investment, rather than waiting until damage can be seen before applying. With lentils, the best time to spray is before row closure. “Once they close over the canopy it’s hard to get it into the canopy.”
He also advises farmers to pay attention to water volume, even though it may take more time in the field. “You increase your protection and coverage with increased water volume.”
Pulse growers anticipating a dry growing season may still want to consider applying a fungicide, Klewchuk says. Even in drier years, the closed canopy “creates that warm humid environment” that you can detect if you walk through a lentil field in the early morning. This microclimate, Klewchuk says, is “a perfect greenhouse for disease to fester.”