Going Green

Editorin Consultancy

RedThread.jpgChipco Green continues to be a popular choice amongst many greenkeepers and groundsmen due to its exceptional all year round curative and preventative control.

Like any other plant protection product it has an approval life dictated by legislation. Once an approval comes up for renewal the registration holder has to decide whether they want to invest in a costly re-registration package or lose the approval altogether.

In an ambitious work programme launched in 1991, the European Commission started a community-wide review process for all active ingredients used in plant protection products within the European Union.

The evaluation, marketing and use of plant protection products in the Community are regulated under Council Directive 91/414/EEC. Through this directive approval holders had to re-submit new data packages for the active ingredients and formulations or loose their approval altogether.

Each approval package costs millions of pounds to produce and will not guarantee a registration being granted in the end. It is through this directive that we have seen many products lost over the past decade because it was too costly for companies to provide new data packages. As a result of this re-registration process, it has taken the best part of three years for Bayer CropScience to get the new approval for use of Chipco Green.

They chose to take the opportunity to upgrade its approval for use on all relevant amenity turf situations whilst, at the same time, increasing the number of diseases the product can be used on. Bayer CropScience has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds getting it re-registered.

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Chipco Green is now approved to treat six turf diseases - fusarium, red thread, dollar spot, anthracnose, leaf spot and rust, and has full approval to be used in all major amenity turf situations - e.g. golf courses, lawns, bowling greens, cricket pitches, tennis courts and professional sports grounds and stadiums. The addition of anthracnose to the label is very important to the manufacturer, as this disease has gained importance over the last 10 years or so.

anthracnose-400x400.jpgThe extent of the trials and gathering of data takes time, in fact Bayer CropScience have done well to get the new approved Chipco Green through this exhausting re-registration process in three years, generally it takes significantly longer.

Approved products carry a MAPP number. Before it is approved, the product must be shown as being effective and safe. Safety includes studies of both individual ingredients and formulated products.

A very extensive range of tests are undertaken to meet the requirements of the legislation. Typically these tests include:

• Full replicated independent efficacy testing in "real life" situations to prove that the chosen product works against the diseases claimed on the label i.e it does what it says on the tin

• Ecotoxicological tests to show that the product will not cause undue harm to the environment or non-target organisms

• Environmental fate studies and modelling to show that the active ingredient does not present unacceptable risks to the environment, plus operator exposure risk assessments to show that the product-in-use will not be of risk to the end user or bystanders

• Physical Chemistry tests to ensure that the formulation is stable in the desired packaging and is stable under normal storage conditions

Very strict criteria must be met for all these factors before approval is granted.

All active ingredients must demonstrate proven levels of efficacy and safety. Only those active ingredients which conform to all the strict legislation governing pesticide registration will gain approval.

Initial screening will test the potential of the fungicide to control the desired diseases whilst having no affect on the crop in this case amenity grassland sports turf.

The development of an active ingredient is only half the story. The active ingredient must be presented, either alone or in combination with other approved actives, into a product that is stable in storage, can demonstrate efficacy in its use area and is available to the user in a format, which enables effective application. This is the process of product formulation.

Bayer CropScience is very pleased indeed with the new approval, knowing it has been tested and proved to be an effective fungicide against a wide range of turf grass diseases but, more importantly, being approved for full amenity turf area use once more.

Substantial research and development has gone into the new approval ensuring it consistently performs in a wide range of situations, climates and time frames and produces the right result on an extended disease spectrum. This would not have been possible if it had not been for the work carried out by over 100 different staff from Bayer CropScience or independent external companies. Once approved a product will have full registration for around ten years, after which the whole process starts again.

Fungicides are classified by their mobility around the plant and are, in the main, either contact or systemic fungicides.

How appropriate the mobility of the fungicide is will depend on:

• The stage of development of the crop

• How much leaf shading prevents a good spray coverage throughout the canopy

Fungicide mobility is defined as:

• Contact - contact fungicides are not taken up into the plant tissue and can only protect the plant where the spray is deposited

• Systemic - systemic fungicides are taken up and redistributed through the xylem vessels to the upper parts of the plant. New leaf growth is protected for a short period.

Chipco Green, being a contact fungicide, means it can be used and works all year round, not like systemic fungicide formulations that require the plant to be active and growing in order to circulate through the plant to control disease.

The Chipco Green formulation has excellent adhesion performance ensuring it can hit and stay on the target plant material, control the disease and prevent further disease for a good month after application. It controls on "contact" so does not rely on weather or grass growth - it works at all temperatures.

It also has excellent rain-fast properties (one hour - actually claimed on the product label) making it a worthwhile consideration in our wet UK climate, and is very reliable and fast acting.

No More AgroIt remains a very stable product that has stood the test of time since 1981. With the end user complying to the relevant legislation and codes of practice required for handling and applying pesticides, plus the appropriate risk assessments and IPM strategy (Integrated Pest Management), there is every chance that the product will continue to gain approval for many more years in the future.

The costs of bringing a product to market and retaining its approval are quite staggering, and go some way to explaining why these products have a high retail price.

The use and effectiveness of any fungicide product is governed by many factors, which in most cases are driven by the knowledge, experience and skills of the practicing groundsmen or greenkeeper.

A sound IPM strategy should be in place, that is to say a combination of effective cultural practices and a back up of Fungicide treatments if so required.

Even with all the good intentions and sound cultural practices that are practiced the sheer pressures of providing high quality playing surfaces all year round does put the grass plant under stress and if the right climatic conditions prevail and the fungi are active you can soon be faced with an outbreak of disease, when the only option left is to spray with an appropriate fungicide.

The fact that Chipco Green offers all year round flexible use is, undoubtedly, one of the main reasons it has remained a popular choice for turfcare professionals for many years.

Available from the Pitchcare Shop

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