Turf managers can look forward to better turf disease control now and in the future, thanks to new developments in disease forecasting systems set to make more effective use of fungicide programmes.
Proactive fungicide programmes will deliver better quality turf and, where used effectively, will do so at lower cost and with fewer fungicide applications, according to Syngenta Technical Manager, Simon Barnaby.
Speaking at a BTME seminar 'Look Forward to better disease control' in Harrogate this week (22 January), hosted by Syngenta and Scotts Professional, Mr Barnaby highlighted the key to success is selecting the right fungicide, and applying it at the right time. "Turf managers need to be prepared to make changes in the way that they approach disease control; a proactive fungicide programme is about Rotation, Rotation, Rotation."
Reliance on the routine use of one fungicide is a risky strategy that will inevitably lead to reduced efficacy, says Mr Barnaby. "Turf managers need to be seeking to apply the right fungicide type at the right time. Better choice and accurate timing leads to better results, which, ultimately, can reduce the number of fungicides applied," he believes.
New developments in the world-leading turf disease forecasting and decision support system - www.greencast.co.uk - now enable turf managers to target high disease risk areas and tailor fungicide programmes accordingly. "GreenCast combines disease forecasts with up to date weather information and turf growth models, to enable turf managers to select the most appropriate fungicide," he advises.
For optimum results, he highlights turf managers can follow new guidelines, including:
Mr Barnaby points out the best results in terms of disease control and turf quality will be achieved from applying fungicides preventatively. "If you are treating the visible signs of disease, the damage to turf quality will already have been done. The beauty of the new disease forecasting systems is that you can see when disease risk is high, and target the prevention at the right time.
"If you can prevent disease building up and damage occurring, the benefit of any fungicide application will last longer and the turf quality will be better. Trials have shown well timed preventative application can give disease protection for 28 days or more," he advises. STRI trials to validate the GreenCast system have shown it is possible to reduce the overall requirement for fungicides, whilst delivering improved turf quality.
Using GreenCast with an Indicator Green
Simon Barnaby believes that turf managers should initially consider using GreenCast in conjunction with an Indicator Green, to marry the web site's forecasts to their own situations and to gain full confidence in the system.
"The use of an Indicator Green or untreated area, selected for its high susceptibility to disease as an early warning for the rest of the turf, can help with preventative fungicide timing," according to Mr Barnaby. "When results on the Indicator Green are compared to GreenCast forecasts, it provides an independent validation of the risk status.
"Armed with this knowledge, they can confidently use the GreenCast forecasting system for more effective proactive management in future months and seasons," he added.
For specialist Syngenta turf management information visit the web site www.greencast.co.uk