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Apples Up Close

Merpan® protectant fungicide delivers apple crop quality insurance

Low PHI, plus broad spectrum saves time and costs
Apples Up Close

ADAMA New Zealand Commercial Manager Doug Speers says Merpan® Fungicide protectant fungicide is the time-sensitive insurance orchardists need. Effective against bull’s eye rot (BER) and European canker in apples, Doug says it provides confidence in the quality of the crop.

The product’s PHI (pre-harvest interval) of just three days, compared with the industry standard of 14 days, has been an industry-changer. “The beauty of Merpan is that it can be applied between picks. It means growers can get in there before the diseases get established and the risk of infection associated with picking scars can be managed more effectively.”

Doug says the previous 14-day PHI standard, had put export fruit quality and even entire markets at risk. “China has its own significant apple industry and no BER. That makes them highly motivated to stop bull’s eye rot before it reaches their borders.

“High value crops including Pacific Queen, Pink Lady and Ambrosia are especially vulnerable to bull’s eye rot. You usually only see it expressed when the cartons are unpacked and by then it’s too late. That makes it a real issue for growers.” 

European canker has been described by some local growers as the number one threat to their business. A quarantine pest for Australia, China, and Taiwan, it significantly reduces productivity and can even result in tree death in severe cases. 

The infection may occur at any time during the year, but harvest, leaf fall and winter pruning are critical infection periods when the fungus can enter host trees through exposed wound sites such as pedicel and leaf scars. 

“With European canker on the Merpan label growers now have a very effective tool to manage the disease.” Doug adds the PHI is also a major advantage.

Previously, the only products with label claims for European canker were copper based products such as copper oxide, copper oxychloride and Bordeaux mixture, and these may only be used post-harvest due to the risk of phytotoxicity. 

More affordable than many of the newer fungicide chemistries, Doug says another of Merpan’s  strengths is that it is a broad-spectrum protectant covering a wide range of apple diseases. These include black spot - a major and potentially devastating disease - and sooty blotch. “It’s good, effective preventative against a range of diseases in a second cover spray programme. “It saves the cost of using different products and extra spraying. You can cover a lot of diseases with one chemistry.

“And, because it’s a multi-site, it’s another vital tool in the toolbox to help counter resistance.”

In the north of New Zealand’s apple growing areas (Hawkes Bay and Gisborne) Doug says weather conditions this past year have created high disease pressure. “Merpan is an especially good option across the board in these situations - it’s an ideal fit.”

®Merpan is a registered trademark of an ADAMA Group Company