Unique co-formulation fungicide set to improve cereal disease programs

WESTERN Australian producer Leigh Strange has adopted a new co-formulation fungicide to help improve cereal disease management, encouraged by its results and the fact it will help extend the life of other fungicide products.

As the fourth generation on the family’s ‘Cotswold Farms’ property near Bruce Rock in the WA wheatbelt, Leigh and his wife De operate a cropping and livestock enterprise.

Leigh said they employ a three-tiered approach to crop disease management, including use of a seed dressing followed by fungicide applications featuring multiple active ingredients.

As part of a limited launch in 2019 they applied the new broad spectrum fungicide, Topnotch™, which combines high loadings of azoxystrobin (Group 11) and propiconazole (Group 3) in a unique suspo-emulsion (SE) formulation.

Developed by ADAMA specifically for the Australian market, Topnotch provides highly effective control of all major foliar diseases in barley and wheat. In barley it helps combat leaf rust, powdery mildew, net form net blotch, spot form net blotch and scald, while in wheat it controls leaf rust, powdery mildew, septoria nodorum, septoria tritici, stripe rust, stem rust and yellow spot.

ADAMA Australia portfolio manager for fungicides, Matt Sherriff said with confirmed spot form net blotch resistance to single mode of action fungicide in southern areas of WA, co-formulated products like Topnotch would become an increasingly vital option in growers’ disease management programs.

“In replicated trial work over the last three seasons, Topnotch has proven very effective on key barley diseases such as spot form net blotch, even with low levels of triazole resistance, which has been identified in key barley growing regions recently,” said Matt.

“Topnotch also provides an alternative mode of action to widely used in-furrow and seed treatment fungicides including SDHI’s.”

The combination of strobilurin and DMI modes of action ensures disease infections are targeted from the time of spore germination on the leaf surface through to mycelial development within leaves.

An ideal disease resistance management tool, Topnotch provides protectant and curative activity across key fungi life cycle stages to help maximise yield potentials. 

Typically, the most cost-effective time to apply the fungicide, at rates of 200-600 ml/Ha when conditions favour disease, is between stem elongation and full head emergence.

Leigh said despite the dry season last year, there were reasonable levels of disease in their wheat and barley crops.

“The Spartacus barley we grow that was on barley stubble had a little bit of spot form net blotch and net form net blotch in there,’’ Leigh said.

“It wasn’t too bad, but we thought we would spray it regardless to keep things under control.

“Even with a seed dressing upfront, there was still some disease pressure there, so we used Topnotch and were very happy with the results.’’

The fungicide is compatible with a wide range of herbicides, insecticides and foliar fertilisers for one-pass control, with extensive testing on multiple varieties across Australia ensuring its crop safety.

Leigh said they applied it in a mix with Flexi-N liquid nitrogen fertiliser with good results.

“We did two applications to get the disease under control in a timely fashion and to get the nitrogen on before rains.’’

“There was no more crop scorching than a normal propiconazole and Flexi-N mix.’’

He said the easy application and good control achieved highlighted the benefits of Topnotch for future disease management programs.

“It’s really important to recognise going forward that by investing in products like this, it will hopefully extend the life of a few other products,’’ Leigh said.

For further information on Topnotch fungicide, growers, advisers and agronomists can contact their local ADAMA representative.

Matt Sherriff
ADAMA Australia portfolio manager for fungicides, Matt Sherriff.