Tree crops hit by waterlogged soils

Article taken from the South East Farmer

Every February Agrovista gives a pair of seminars for their growers and the programme is always a good mix of what they as a company are developing and a clutch of invited speakers who are bringing innovation or legislation to the attention of fruit growers.

Charles Coslett, head of Specialist Crops, Agrovista UK, opened the day by looking at the year ahead from the wettest winter for more than 200 years with one third of our annual rainfall landing in six weeks.  Waterlogged soils will undoubtedly affect tree crops, and with tree roots in anaerobic conditions for long enough some deaths are inevitable and with it an increased incidence of canker.

Winter chill is another concern: we’ve barely had frosts and there is no doubt that it hasn’t been cold enough.  This will affect bud break in already weakened non dormant trees.  The waterlogged conditions will also have seriously depleted the soil dwelling predatory and pollinating insect species.  These statements set the programme for the day with speakers addressing effective applications of products, canker, pollination, and management of crucial data and herbicide strategies.

The first speaker was Professor Jerry Cross from East Malling Research (EMR) talking about the pesticide dose adjustment to the crop environment system which calculates dose adjustment for tree fruit spraying.  The system recognises the difference in orchard styles, age, canopy sizes and intensiveness and that if everything is treat the same, growers will not get the same efficacy of product.

Research conducted at EMR showed that some orchards had six times the deposit required.  Those that had the correct deposit were those that were mature with a full canopy but the rate didn’t take into consideration young, less dense orchards that received too much product.  The model was developed following intensive analysis of orchards.  One farm within the trial group saved nearly £15,000 on spray costs.  For more information and to calculate correct rates for your orchards go to Select V4 and use Google chrome browser as Explorer causes recording issues.

Paul Bennett, one of the Agrovista team, spoke about the challenges of increased levels of canker in British orchards, probably due to the number of new varieties that are susceptible and also all the Gala selections.  Weather patterns with increased periods of wet conditions are adding to the issue.  All growers need to be aware of the way the issue develops and the life cycle of the disease – we know that old lesions produce ascospores that are airborne and get into any kind of wound.  New lesions have white pustules that produce conidia too large to be airborne but are spread by water.  The bottom line is that this winter is ideal for the spread of both kinds of spores and infection will continue through-out this coming season.

The remaining available actives are Dithianon, Captan, Boscalid bellis, Cyproduonil switch, Tebuconazole folicur etc (but approval for post harvest and winter only), Dodine syllit etc and Copper cuprokylt powder.

The southern seminar was brought to a close by Marc Trapman talking about innovations in the RIMPro system.  Many Agrovista clients benefit from weather stations on farms informing this excellent scab and moth activity prediction model.  Mr Trapman has been part of a team working on scab since 1993, and this tool has enabled growers to access accurate weather data coupled with a warning system to best inform effective spray strategies.

RIMPro has been moved to a cloud based server, simplifying the annual update process and ensuring that data is more accurate now that RIMPro has an opportunity to bring in fungicide and insecticide data to the model, showing the effective periods of activity of the products.  The model has every approved scab control product with its half life and activity span.


07 March 2014

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