Cereals growers warned of septoria 'perfect storm'

Early indications are pointing towards high septoria pressure this year
Early indications are pointing towards high septoria pressure this year

Cereal growers will need to use the best tools available to them to offset the threat of septoria this year amid a 'perfect storm' of conditions, experts have warned.

After the warmest February on record for England and Wales, followed by a very wet March, early indications are pointing towards a high septoria pressure year.

Those who managed to plant wheat last autumn will be concerned about the amount of rain that has fallen and, as temperatures rise this spring, there are still no signs of the showers stopping any time soon.

The conditions look likely to create a perfect storm, according to Corteva Agriscience, as septoria lesions are already being spotted in fields, even on varieties with proven high resistance, such as Extase.

Corteva's cereal fungicide manager, Mike Ashworth said: “It’s been a difficult few months for arable farmers, and the last thing we want is for septoria and rusts to compound what has already been a very tough season.

“Spring fieldwork is mounting and growers are desperately hoping for a window to catch up, so a strategy for 2024 fungicide programmes which reflects the disease pressure seen in the fields will need to be developed imminently.

“The best course of action is getting a proven, reliable fungicide in store, so you’re ready to go as soon as the rain stops.”

For the past three years, independent AHDB trials have shown that Corteva’s Univoq fungicide is the most effective product for the control of septoria in wheat.

Univoq is also effective against rusts, which are likely to be prevalent in later-drilled crops this year.

To help tackle the season’s challenges, Corteva’s experts advise growers use fungicide chemistry with both protectant and curative qualities.

Corteva’s field technical manager, Craig Chisholm, said: “Univoq has proven its ability to deliver curative and preventative persistence against yield-robbing diseases.

"In 2021 we had a very wet spring and were facing similar circumstances to what we see in front of us today, and the fungicide did an excellent job in protecting crops during that season.”