Clearing up the confusion of turf fungicides
All greenkeepers and groundsmen want healthy looking turf, but when it comes to choosing a suitable fungicide, understanding the importance of anti-resistance strategies is vital. But, some of the current messages being put out in the market place about turf fungicide use and resistance, are to say the least confusing.
"Fungicide resistance is something manufacturers, greenkeepers and groundsmen must take seriously," warns Mr Cawley. "From a manufacturer's point of view, having a product effective against disease without any resistance, will ensure that it has a long product life. For greenkeepers and groundsmen, it means that there will always be a range of products that will effectively control diseases, and keep their greens in tip-top condition"
Although turf resistance is not significant at the moment, it is something that Rigby Taylor is keen to promote. As Andrew Robinson, managing director of Rigby Taylor explains, "Farmers have experienced resistance with several groups of fungicides in agriculture and we don't want to see this happening in the turf business. By taking steps to manage potential resistance issues now will lessen the chances of resistance occurring in turf in the future."
"By following a few simple rules it is easy to implement a fungicide anti-resistance strategy," advises Mr Cawley. "The most important thing is to understand the mode of action of a fungicide. This can be determined by looking at the group name the active ingredient comes from which will then show you how the fungicide works. There are currently five groups of chemicals that can be rotated with each other. Once you have understood which overall group your fungicide is in you can choose which fungicides from a different chemical group to rotate with. For example, if you use a product containing myclobutanil as the active ingredient it should be rotated with a non-DMI fungicide such as one containing chlorothalonil or a strobulurin."
"One misconception is that if a fungicide has two active ingredients it has two modes of action but if both active ingredients are from the same group, then you are no safer from resistance than buying a product with a single active ingredient," warns Mr Cawley.
Product labels must be read for the latest information on timings and anti resistance proposals. The label will indicate how many sprays can be applied in a year and how many consecutive sprays can be applied. If the same active ingredient is repeatedly applied time after time then there is an increased risk of resistance developing.
Trials are done to ensure that fungicides work effectively, so dose rate must not be cut as this will also lead to an increased chance of resistance. Also adopting an integrated approach to disease management such as incorporating disease resistant cultivars in the turf should be encouraged. By following these simple rules there will be a broad range of effective fungicides to incorporate into disease management practices for the foreseeable future.
More details of fungicide groups, modes of action and particular resistance strategies for individual types of fungicide are available from the industry sponsored Fungicide Resistance Action Committee (FRAC) website: www.frac.info or the Pesticides Safety Directorate website: www.pesticides.gov.uk/rags_home.asp.
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. USE PESTICIDES SAFELY