Getting a handle on fungicides
Costs continue to be an issue on all farms and, when it comes to fungicides, farmers tend to get more exercised about the cost of fungicides than any other expense.
This is probably because it is the last money spent on the crop. There is no doubt fungicide costs have risen quite substantially (€/ha basis) over the past 10 years.
Although the cost per unit of fungicide has not increased substantially, the overall costs have risen due to higher rates to combat increased disease insensitivity. Farmers view fungicides as necessary insurance and, as most of the money is already spent, they are usually willing to go the extra mile to make sure the fungicide gets the most yield from the crop. The question is, can the fungicide costs be reduced?
While there is some room for manoeuvre on costs, it is not always easy to trim these costs.
This is due to our unpredictable weather so it is prudent to plan for an increased fungicide rate, just in case.
However, knowing what disease you want to control and being able to identify it helps in the selection of the correct fungicide and making sure you only purchase what you need.
In the main table on page eight you can see there is a huge range of different fungicides available. Sometimes it is often best to go for single actives rather than premixes as this can give you more flexibility when applying products in different circumstances.
That being said, premixes can sometimes represent good value for money. There are a number of ways where it may be possible to decrease the fungicide spend or increase fungicide return on your farm.