Profitable chickpea crops require attention to detail
30 June, 2018
30 June, 2018
Bayer Commercial Sales Representative Graham Hatcher and Landmark Riverton Agronomist and Branch Manager Andrew Parkinson check the quality of a 20-hectare seed production crop of the Genesis 090 chickpea variety near Saddleworth. The crop had received three applications of chlorothalonil and one application of Aviator Xpro.
Andrew Parkinson is the Agronomist and Branch Manager at Landmark Riverton, which supports a region from just north of Gawler, out toward Mallala and Balaklava up, then up towards Auburn and Manoora, and down to Marrabel. Average annual rainfall in the region varies from 350 to 540 mm.
Andrew is supported by Bronwyn Palmer and Gary Fuss in merchandise and a further four staff at the branch, including in livestock, real estate and property management.
He said crop rotations in the region for some had moved towards a pulse crop, followed by canola and then two years of cereal crops, largely to tackle issues with annual ryegrass control.
Chickpeas have started to become favoured due to poorer prices and highly variable yields with faba bean and lentil crops, as well as other pulses such as field peas. Lentils can be a challenge to grow due to waterlogging issues on some soils.
Andrew said Genesis 090 and PBA Monarch were the current popular varieties and growers should try to select paddocks with low ryegrass pressure, good moisture-holding capacity; inoculate seed with rhizobia bacteria for successful nodulation and maximum yield potential; and apply a fungicidal seed treatment.
He said the very poor resistance of chickpeas to ascochyta blight was one of the greatest challenges in growing this crop and significant applications of chlorothalonil and, more recently, Aviator® Xpro® fungicide had been applied.
“A sound fungicide strategy can include as many as five to seven sprays depending on rainfall and the conditions,’’ Andrew said.
“I spoke with a grower recently who said in 2015 he put two sprays on his chickpea crops and probably didn’t need one. In 2016 it was a wet season and he did seven applications and never really felt that he had the disease under control.’’
He said last year they had excellent subsoil moisture leading into the season, a late April break, very dry June and good July, August and early September, before it became drier.
“Ascochyta blight infection came in quite strongly from mid to late August. We were finding it readily in the canopy. Growers applied four to five fungicide applications, including one that was Aviator Xpro, and this strategy, combined with fine weather, cleaned up the infection.’’
“Growers had some hotspots of disease develop where spray coverage had not been adequate or the timing (of applications) not quite right, in particular where the first application was a bit late.
“Aviator Xpro appeared to do a really good job where disease had started to develop. We were also fortunate, however, that the weather dried up, which I think definitely helped as well.’’
Aviator Xpro, from Bayer, contains bixafen, a new member of the Group 7 (SDHI) fungicides, which offers a new mode of action for resistance management, as well as the proven performance of prothioconazole. In addition to ascochyta blight in chickpeas, it is also registered for blackleg and sclerotinia control in canola, while additional registrations across cereals (wheat and barley) and pulses (faba beans, field peas and lentils), including aerial application, have since been added to the label for the 2018 season.
Aviator Xpro also offers good compatibility and its patented LeafShield™ formulation system enhances its activity against diseases. Its short rain-fast period, estimated at around 30 minutes to one hour, is particularly beneficial for chickpea growers spraying ahead of rainfall events.
Andrew said it was an advantage to have a new mode of action to assist chemical rotation against ascochyta blight and resistance management, while the LeafShield technology would be particularly valuable for applications prior to rainfall events.
He said there were also no real grazing concerns following the use of Aviator Xpro considering its time of application, even though its grazing withholding period was five weeks. Whereas the use of chlorothalonil fungicide, depending on the product supplier, varies from zero grazing to 14 days grazing withholding, plus an export slaughter interval of 63 days for stock grazing the stubbles.
Bayer advises applying Aviator Xpro only twice as part of a preventative spray program including other fungicides, with a 28-day interval required between the two applications.
“Depending on the crop stage, disease severity and the conditions at the time, I will definitely be recommending Aviator Xpro,’’ Andrew said.
“There could be a couple of chlorothalonil applications before Aviator Xpro depending on the season, then we’ll look at the pre-canopy closure timing with Aviator Xpro. I expect that Aviator Xpro applications will be used mid to late in the season, to help extend the fungicide activity.’’
He encouraged growers to use high water rates and a medium droplet spectrum to help achieve maximum spray area coverage, which is important with any fungicide application.
Meanwhile, Andrew said he also expected Aviator Xpro would have a good fit for management of foliar disease in canola crops through the region, predominantly for sclerotinia.