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Australia - Genetics and fungicide technologies combine putting canola in frontqrcode

Jul. 10, 2024

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Jul. 10, 2024

Syngenta Australia
Australia  Australia

Canola growers are making the most of recent advances in seed genetics and fungicide technologies for bankable returns despite considerable disease pressure. 

″With the yields and profitability we're getting on canola, the area of canola has really jumped up in the last five years,″ Frankland River Rural Principal Tim Trezise said. 

Mr Trezise estimated that canola forms 30-50% of his clients’ annual rotation, and in many cases represents the preferred crop over cereals.  

"The genetics are just that good, the seed companies have been holding up their end of the deal, they've been providing really good genetics with really good yield potential.″ 

This appetite for canola has, however, seen growers go early with crop establishment putting crops in front of blackleg showers. While this necessitates robust fungicide programs to buttress those valued resistance traits, the strategy has demonstrated solid returns on investment. 

This is especially the case when using a quality SDHI fungicide during the crucial early flowering (10-20%) window, compared to Tebuconazole and Prothioconazole mixes such as Prosaro*. 

Mr Trezise said a 2023 trial conducted by Living Farm on behalf of Syngenta had demonstrated the value of MIRAVIS® Star fungicide. 

Applying Prosaro* at the 450mL/ha rate at 20% flower, the crop yielded an extra 160kg/ha over the untreated, for a $71 return on investment. Whereas MIRAVIS® Star yield an extra 290kg/ha at the same timing, when applied at the 750mL/ha label rate, for a return of $141/ha, compared to the untreated.


Figure 1. A Living Farm trial conducted on behalf of Syngenta at Frankland River in 2023 was used to assess yield response to preventative fungicides applied at 20% flower. The 750mL/ha application of  MIRAVIS® Star yielded 290kg/ha above the untreated control, for a net return of $141/ha. Note: Based $700/tonne market price for canola oilseed and indicative chemical application costs.  

″People are starting to put their canola in mainly early April, but even late March, and so with this change we're actually seeing a little bit more blackleg, particularly upper canopy black leg, but a little less sclerotinia because flowering is happening in the colder, wetter months, but it’s still there,″ Mr Trezise said.

Having seen positive results in what was a tight finish to the last canola season, Mr Trezise is excited to see those benefits multiplied in 2024 and beyond.

"Last year we had a really pinched-off, quick finish and that all the same it was actually very comforting to see that still had a positive response with MIRAVIS® Star, an economical response, which was good,″ he said.

″It gives us confidence that in an average year or a good year, we’re going to see a good return from it.″

Returns that Mr Trezise said would add up quickly.

″We’re usually targeting three-tonne crops here,″ he said.

"Having access to a really good disease product, and genetics package, is part of getting those big yields so we were very interested in MIRAVIS® Star from the start.″

Compared to other SDHI fungicides, MIRAVIS® Star demonstrated superior compatibility through reduced phytotoxicity.

″That's a win for us because when we go out at that sort of 10 to 20% flower-timing, we've always got some Flexi-N or UAN in with that product. So that that's a big tick.″

Another advantage he observed in 2023 was the length of control after the first application.

″The guys who spent the money on the MIRAVIS® Star got away without a second application because the season didn’t allow it.

″In a lot of situations, people who used other products went back with a second spray and some of them probably should have but missed the boat.

″With application costs, there was the additional spend of making that second application. And those who didn’t spray and should have, the loss would have been measurable.

″We don’t always get a late sclerotinia infection that late in the season, but you could definitely pick the MIRAVIS® Star paddocks.″

Mr Trezise said MIRAVIS® Star fungicide had become part of his recommendation to more of his clients this season.

″It was a challenging end to the season last year, particularly for those with livestock and I would say growers will be scrutinizing the spend on fungicides again,″ he said.

″But I would say that if we have an average-to-good year, and their crops are looking fantastic by the time we get to 10-20% flowering, they’ll do what's best for the crop when we know the disease is there.″

In line with CropLife resistance management strategies a maximum of two SDHI fungicides are allowed per crop, rotating to a different mode of action in between.

Mr Trezise said his clients were maximizing their returns by using the SDHI seed treatment SALTRO® Duo, followed by an early foliar application of Tebuconazole + Prothioconazole, and then MIRAVIS® Star at 20% flower, The value of which was also demonstrated in the 2023 Frankland River trial (figure 1).

″As Tim has found, using Tebuconazole + Prothioconazole at the earlier timing helps continue the early protection established with SALTRO® Duo, before coming back with MIRAVIS® Star,″ Syngenta Technical Services Lead Ben Parkin said.

″You can never be sure what the season will do but with the residual action of MIRAVIS® Star, it really helps maintain that yield potential under trying conditions particularly when trafficability becomes marginal.

″This is a rotation we hear is working especially well in medium to high rainfall production systems.″ 

 *Registered trademark

® Registered trademark of a Syngenta Group company


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