Jun 27, 2019Blight Control: Can a fertilizer be a fungicide’s best friend?
(Sponsored) It’s a question many growers and agronomists have been asking for a long time –– do some nutrient products bring something to the party when it comes to disease control?
The role plant nutrients play in plant health has often had the waters muddied by pseudo-science. Products claiming to increase yield have been knocking around for years, many supported by a lot of gloss but not much substance, points out OMEX® technical development manager, David Booty.
That’s why OMEX® has put together a portfolio of replicated trials on a whole range of different crops for their nutrient product CELL POWER® Zynergy, a combination of copper, zinc and organic acids. The results seem to back up what the product name implies, that there’s a synergistic effect when it comes to disease control.
One of the crops where extensive trials work has been conducted is potatoes and Norfolk independent agronomist, John Purslow, believes that CELL POWER® Zynergy has had a positive effect on the crops he’s used it on.
So what is he basing his opinion on? The role of copper and zinc in plants and a mind that’s able to join the dots when it comes to rationalizing their field effects. “It makes sense to use in conjunction with blight fungicides to enhance the control of the disease. I’m also using phosphite on potatoes and believe it’s useful to combine the two to benefit from the secondary effects of both biostimulant and micronutrient on blight,” he says.
Both copper and zinc play a part in the metabolism of plants. One of the roles of both nutrients is to support the crop’s immune systems, explains David Booty.
“Part of zinc’s function is in maintaining the integumentary system of the plant, which affects skin elasticity, wound healing and disease suppression. Copper forms part of the phenolic compounds used by plants to suppress infection,” he explains.
The formulation of CELL POWER® Zynergy seems to enhance the bioavailability of the micronutrients, according to statistically significant trials carried out at Sutton Bonnington, University of Nottinghamshire.
“Prof. Steve Rossall at Sutton Bonnington looked at the effects and simulated rainfastness of CELL POWER® Zynergy compared with tank-mixed zinc and copper. Trials were inoculated using a virulent strain of blight and in both cases the formulated product outperformed the mix of straight products, copper sulphate and zinc oxide,” he explains.
Both agronomist and manufacturer are quick to point out that it’s not fungicidal with a Revus (mandipropamid)/ Ranman (cyazofamid) program, applied on a seven-day interval.”
“A lot of my land is short of zinc and disease-resistant varieties, like KWS Siskin, might not need a fungicide but an application of micronutrients at this timing will boost the plant’s immune system and make it more resilient,” he reasons.
The possibilities for use in the wheat fungicide program are something OMEX® are investigating in further trials, adds David Booty.
“So far we’ve found that in a low fungicide-input scenario, the addition of CELL POWER® Zynergy has a statistically significant impact on disease levels when applied at T1 and T2,” he says, referring to trial site results from Wilts on JB Diego. “Positioning CELL POWER® Zynergy earlier, at T0 and T1, may help keep disease levels low early in the program so could have a role in strengthening fungicide programs where an SDHI isn’t used, but more trials work is needed,” he comments.
For more information on products please contact OMEX® Agrifluids at [email protected] or call 559-661-6138.