Search
Search
Search

Australian Banana Industry embraces novel biological fungicide

About

About

Category

  • Grower Stories

Date

23 July, 2020

Product

Location

Innisfail, QLD

The introduction of a Serenade® Prime, the first biological fungicide from Bayer, has changed the game for Far North Queensland banana growers. Serenade Prime has been extensively researched and adopted in global banana production as an alternative to fungicides like mancozeb and chlorothalonil. 
Dave Doolan and Brock Saunderson
Image: Dave Doolan (L) & Brock Saunderson (R)

The recent registration in Australia, for control of yellow Sigatoka and suppression of common leaf speckle, plus the ACO organic allowed input certification, provides growers flexibility in both conventional and organic spray programs and delivers a major step forward in the development of sustainable production systems.

Serenade Prime contains numerous biological compounds produced by a patented strain (QST 713) of the bacteria Bacillus amyloliquefaciens.  These compounds have contact activity when sprayed and prevent the development of yellow Sigatoka spores by physically rupturing the cell membrane. This makes it very difficult for disease to develop resistance. In addition to biological control of fungi, Serenade Prime also triggers the plant’s natural defences against future disease infection. 

Agronomist Dave Doolan, who works in Innisfail with GF Rural Supplies, believes Serenade Prime is going to provide a significant improvement for the banana industry in managing yellow Sigatoka.

“As a member of the Fungicide Group 44 protectant chemistry, I believe Serenade Prime has got a lot of advantages, especially as it is a biological product,” he says.
 
“It’s been a wet year, and so a lot of farmers have used Serenade Prime and we've been able to get a further insight into how it performs and a lot of them have been extremely happy. The product has worked very, very well.”
 
“It's critical that growers still get their regular spray programmes on and use Serenade Prime when there's no pressure, it's not a systemic product.” 
 
The emphasis Dave Doolan puts on a well-balanced fungicide program to include both protectants and systemics has been played out in three large-scale demonstration sites by Bayer in the Far North Queensland growing areas of Tully and Innisfail. 
 
At each site, one block was treated with Serenade Prime plus oil as a protectant, in a program with Luna® Experience Fungicide plus oil, the next generation systemic fungicide from Bayer. Luna
 
Experience is a co-formulation of fluopyram and tebuconazole, replacing Luna Privilege for control of yellow Sigatoka, leaf speckle and cordana leaf spot. 


Banana spraying

The Bayer combination was tested as an overall program against a more traditional approach of mancozeb plus oil or a chlorothalonil program, and Dave Doolan says the results were positive.

“The Bayer program has worked, there's no difference when you walk from the mancozeb section through into the Serenade Prime and Luna Experience treated block, so it is certainly holding up,” he says.

“We had the chemicals applied by fixed wing aircraft as well as by helicopter on various blocks, so both the main means of aerial application were done.”

Director and Chief Pilot of Peak Aviation Services in Innisfail, Ian Saunderson, applied both Luna Experience and Serenade Prime through his fixed wing aircraft over the demonstration sites. Mr Saunderson says not only were the results of the Bayer program strong, but the products were also easy to handle.

“The registration of Serenade Prime on bananas, being novel chemistry as a protectant, and a biological one as well, is a major step forward for the banana industry I think, because it really goes towards sustainable agriculture,” he says.

“It's the right direction to be going, I believe, if we are going to have an industry in 10 or 15 years. We haven't had a new protectant in the market for decades, so, it's really important work that Bayer is doing.”

Serenade® and Luna® are Registered Trademarks of the Bayer Group

About

Category

  • Grower Stories

Date

23 July, 2020

Product

Location

Innisfail, QLD

QLD map