Earlier spraying gives higher barley yields
From year to year the level of response from fungicides in spring barley can vary from 0.5t/ha to 2.5t/ha, with an average of 1.3t/ha. Everybody recognises there is an element of insurance built into all fungicide applications due to the unpredictability of the weather patterns in Ireland.
Dr Stephen Kildea and Dr Liz Glynn at Teagasc Oak Park undertook and extensive timing trials in spring barley fungicides. The results of the trial confirm some of the theories strongly held by many good growers. The clear and perhaps simple massage is to apply fungicides earlier than we have been doing in the past.
The trial shows that delaying both fungicides by one to two growth stages (roughly 7-10 days) cost 0.5t/ha of gain. If we assume a total fungicide spend of €90/ha (or €35/ac), the 0.5t/ha of extra yield applying the fungicides early is worth €70/ha at a grain price of €135/t. The cost of the fungicide is almost offset by the extra yield and the only difference is to apply the fungicide a little earlier.