The Irish climate provides ideal conditions for growing spring barley, but it also provides the perfect environment for foliar diseases such as net blotch, rhyncho, mildew and Ramularia.
Any one of these has the potential to significantly reduce both grain yield and quality. Disease control is used to help prevent these losses.
As each disease is caused by a different pathogen, control strategies need to be tailored to the crop and variety.
Decisions on crop management will also influence disease development and control programmes
Control strategies should aim to prevent or suppress initial disease development. Such decisions must take into account past experience, local conditions and the end use for the grain.
Decisions on crop management will also influence disease development and control programmes.
Looking at fungicide efficacy
The experiment seen at the trials event is looking at the efficacy of fungicides from the major fungicide groups to control key barley diseases.
As part of IPM-based disease control, it is important to select the correct fungicides to match disease risk and then employ anti-resistance measures.
The greatest influences on disease risk are the Irish climate and the variety grown. This trial is using RGT Planet, which is medium risk for both rhyncho and net blotch and low risk to mildew.
Rhyncho seems the biggest threat
Following the dry March and April, May was extremely wet. So, the main disease in the trials is rhyncho.
The fungicide treatments were applied at the end of tillering and again as the awns emerged. Clear differences in the levels of rhyncho control can already be seen.
The actives known to have superior activity against rhyncho are performing the best.
Pathogen populations adapt as varieties change, so control programmes need continuous development
However, we can also expect net blotch to develop as the season progresses and temperatures increase, and further differences between the treatments may emerge.
Pathogen populations adapt as varieties change, so control programmes need continuous development to match the changing disease risk and prevent yield loss.
Also, as fungicide availability changes through restrictions of usage or the commercialisation of newer actives, research like this will provide the basis to develop new disease control programmes for spring barley.