Australian Banana Industry embraces novel biological fungicide
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.
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