The summer crop season on the Liverpool Plains saw some welcome rainfall in December that was perfectly timed to help set up the dryland sorghum and cotton crops, with some customers also opting to double crop mung beans into wheat or barley stubble. Mice were the big talking point throughout the summer causing economical damage in maize, sorghum, mung beans and cotton, which resulted in aerial baiting programs being conducted across our area.
Pre-season winter crop meetings were held with our customers discussing crop rotation strategies for the 2021 winter crop and also the 2021-22 summer crop. The discussion points in these meetings are revolved around weed resistance issues, soil-borne pathogens, varietal choices, nutrient budget plans based on soil tests, seed
treatments, insect and disease control strategies and profitability.
Looking forward to the April, May and June period the herbicide, fungicide and insecticide strategies discussed pre-planting are put into place. It’s important to ensure that the crop gets off to the best start possible. Using back to back barley as an example which isn’t recommended however, this is a situation where Systiva, a seed treatment fungicide would be recommended as the seed treatment of choice. This provides systemic and ongoing residual activity on a variety of diseases but mainly spot form of net blotch and net form of net blotch. These are necrotrophic diseases that can survive over the fallow period on the stubble and reinfect your barley crop when optimal conditions arise during winter.
In a year conducive to disease development like 2020 was, the systiva should keep the crop clean from net blotches and powdery mildew up until our flag -1 leaf emerges, which is our key contributing leaf in barley.
If conditions continue to favour disease development, this is where a fungicide like Topnotch, containing both propiconazole and azoxystrobin, would be recommended to be applied prior to rainfall over our flag -1 leaf, or flag leaf, to provide preventative control on key barley diseases for up to six weeks.
In a year where disease is high it is critical to take preventative measures to control foliar diseases and keep our key yielding leaves green and photosynthesising for as long as possible to maximise yield potential.
By Lochlan Lancaster
Agronomist – Pursehouse Rural Gunnedah