Green leaf protection to boost late season sugar

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This season’s sugar beet crops are under pressure from prolonged drought conditions across large parts of the eastern counties. Growers are looking to extend the growing season for roots to bulk up and add the sugar.

Syngenta technical manager, Andy Cunningham said: “Maintaining green leaf area for as long as possible will be paramount in growers’ decisions for fungicide programmes this season. Priori Gold gives the combination of effective disease protection and the physiological advantage of green leaf retention.”

British Sugar agronomists have reported healthy crops can put on an additional 25% of adjusted yield from mid-September, with sugar content increasing by 0.2-0.4% a week through to November.

Powdery mildew risk

Powdery mildew has been at high risk for some time, favoured by the hot dry conditions, pointed out Mr Cunningham. “But as day length now shortens and leaves remain wet with dew for prolonged periods overnight, there’s also increased risk of rust developing very quickly.”

That would be further exacerbated by irrigation of crops during the dry weather, or any isolated rain showers that occur. Rust is already highly prevalent on crops in the north and west, where conditions have been wetter and persistent strong winds may have prevented timely fungicide treatments.

Rust can be one of the most challenging diseases for fungicides in sugar beet. With Priori Gold (also marketed by Syngenta as Angle), crops get the combined disease protection of difenoconazole and azoxystrobin for rust, powdery mildew, Ramularia and Cercospora, as well as the renowned green leaf retention of the strobilurin active.

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About Author

Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is an avid follower of Stoke City.