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A ‘timely’ boost for Freeling pulse crops

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About

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  • Grower Stories

Date

12 April, 2019

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Location

South Australia

Time is of the essence in most farming enterprises, so when something comes along that saves it, is easier to use and can help increase profits, it’s always going to be roundly received.
Schuster family farming
Image: Corbin and Bayer Commercial Sales Representative Graham Hatcher take a closer look at the development of chickpeas on the family’s property.

That situation also can be magnified when you run a full-time, multiple cropping program, one-third of which is devoted to hay production, on up to a seven-year rotation.

The Schuster name has long been synonymous with the Lower North region of South Australia, with Gavin and Sherinne currently at the helm of the seven generation family business near Freeling that originally settled in the area in 1875.

Together with sons Corbin and his wife, Tina, Leighton and his wife, Kahlia, and Harrison, the Schusters grow hay, wheat, barley, field peas, canola, lentils, chickpeas and medic seed over 2300 hectares of typical Bay of Biscay soils in the area. The property resides in a safe 475 mm annual rainfall region, although it only received about 240 mm of growing season rainfall last year, the fifth lowest on record.


Schuster family farming

Image: Some of the members of the Schuster family farming team near Freeling, Corbin and his daughter, Madeline, with Corbin’s father, Gavin, and grandfather, Merv.

The hay program includes oaten, wheaten and meadow hay, grown on problem ryegrass paddocks over three years as part of the rotation.

Crop pests and diseases are always a constant threat, like the oat race of stem nematode that precluded faba beans from the program and required a two-year gap between field peas and oats in the rotation.

About one-third of the program also comprises pulse crops, with ascochyta blight in the chickpeas and lentils, together with black spot in the field peas, always under close check.

Gavin said the Genesis 090 chickpea variety was becoming increasingly susceptible to ascochyta blight and last year plant pathologists indicated they were facing a potential crop wipeout due to the disease.

They attempted to control it with chlorothalonil fungicide before becoming aware of the new Aviator® Xpro® label extension for disease control in pulse crops.

Developed by Bayer, Aviator Xpro contains bixafen, a novel member of the Group 7 (SDHI) fungicides, which also offers an alternate mode of action for resistance management, as well as the proven performance of prothioconazole.

It has shown to be a strong option for control of ascochyta blight in chickpeas, as well as for control of blackleg and sclerotinia disease in canola, and now can be used across wheat, barley and more pulse crops, including for aerial application.

Aviator Xpro also offers good compatibility and its patented LeafShield™ formulation technology enhances its activity against diseases. Its short rain-fast period, estimated at around 30 minutes to one hour in most situations, is particularly beneficial for chickpea growers spraying ahead of rainfall events.

Gavin said the easy use and short rain-fast period with Aviator Xpro helped with the time pressures of spraying it before rainfall and they applied it at 600 mL/ha with 120 L/ha of water twice in the chickpeas.

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.

“We were blown away by the bounceback in the chickpeas,’’ Gavin said.

“The patches in the chickpeas were getting very bad and the Aviator Xpro held them up. The plants responded with a whole heap of new growth and then you couldn’t see the patches.’’

In the previous two seasons in field peas to control black spot, the Schusters applied four applications of mancozeb well before flowering, whereas last year with Aviator Xpro they applied it once.

“The ease of use and convenience with Aviator Xpro is an improvement over mancozeb. It’s easy to mix, easy to spray with no blocked nozzles, and it does a better job on the disease,’’ Gavin said.

“With the other product, you have to shake the hell out of it and you still get a bit in the bottom.

“It is an extra cost, but the ease of use far outweighs that. If we can spray 50-70 ha an hour, we don’t want to be sitting around mixing things up or stuffing around cleaning filters.’’


Schuster family farming

Image: Corbin and Bayer Commercial Sales Representative Graham Hatcher take a closer look at the development of chickpeas on the family’s property.

The Schusters estimated Aviator Xpro could have contributed to 25% extra yield in the pulse crops.

Gavin said in the lentils, they well understood the importance of the first fungicide spray at pre-canopy closure and after a rainfall event last season, they decided to invest in Aviator Xpro to protect against ascochyta blight.

“It can wipe-out lentil crops and we are a firm believer in spending money to make money.’’

Corbin said he was amazed how long the lentil crops held on for last season following the fungicide application.

Gavin said they favoured using new mode of action chemicals to assist resistance management and they would probably continue to use carbendazim in rotation on the lentils, also to help control grey mould.

“Unlike chlorothalonil and carbendazim, Aviator Xpro is good on both diseases (grey mould and ascochyta blight).’’

Bayer Commercial Sales Representative Graham Hatcher said Aviator Xpro was an ideal, robust first fungicide spray in lentils at the pre-canopy closure stage.

About

Category

  • Grower Stories

Date

12 April, 2019

Product

Location

South Australia