Why a magnifying glass might be the best purchase for tillage farmers to make this year
Farmers need to use more holistic methods of pest control this springtime with important management chemicals in danger of being removed from the marketplace, it has been urged.
Growers at a Teagasc Winter Crop Walk in Oak Park, Co Carlow were told one of the best purchases they could make this year would be to buy a magnifying glass and get down out of the tractor to examine the crops.
With a heavy workload ahead for the spring, farmers were urged to make note of diseases in their crops, including new and more sustained outbreaks, on their maps this year and for the coming seasons. Growers were urged to use these as tools as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to reduce the prevalence of diseases.
Teagasc tillage specialist Ciaran Collins pointed out IPM was already a key requirement under the sustainable use of pesticides directive. However, he said it was more vital than ever with the loss of important actives through development resistance and through the regulatory process at EU level.
Concerns over the potential loss of chlorothalonil
Mr Collins said there was also less efficacy from products and with IPM the fungicides would be used less frequently and would be more targeted.
“Getting timings right would be the big one from a fungicide perspective. It is a requirement anyway but in terms of longevity of products, it is a more sustainable system,” he said. “An ongoing issue is the septoria resistance.”
Steven Kildea, cereal pathologist at Oak Park, also drummed home the point that if you have to evaluate disease and how crops are performing on farm. For instance, he highlighted that if you have to start treating for Yellow Rust at this stage, then next year a decision should be made not to sow that variety or not to plant it so early.