Image: Some of the quality strawberries straight from the field at Ti Strawberries, Bullsbrook, WA.
With a high level of confidence in the research and development process of Bayer, and considered advice from Des, Ti Strawberries trialled Serenade Opti across the whole farm.
“We clearly saw some effectiveness and that gave us the confidence to keep using it,’’ Jamie said.
“We tried it mid season and then ran it on rotation. We normally apply a fungicide once a week, so in rotation with the other fungicides, it was about three applications a month apart.’’
Products are applied using a 32-metre Hardi, air-assisted sprayer. The Serenade Opti was applied at 150 g/100 L of water as part of a total solution application of 1000 L/ha.
“We consider rotating chemicals to be really important against disease resistance. There’s only a small number of tools that we have against most diseases, so it’s important to get the most life out them and the only real way to do that is through rotation,’’ Jamie said.
“We have seen resistance before to other chemicals for other diseases and once you have a product that’s effective, you want to continue using it and that’s always part of our mindset when applying chemicals.’’
He said they were happy with the disease protection Serenade Opti was providing.
“The mark of a good treatment program is not having a problem at the end of it and since we included Serenade Opti, we haven’t had a botrytis issue.’’
“We have a program that’s a bit more weighted to a biological program now and it’s working well.’’
Des said biological fungicides were becoming more strongly considered in growers’ disease management programs, particularly for their major benefit of no withholding periods.
In addition to naturally occurring beneficial insects at the farm, Ti Strawberries introduced persimilis predatory mites into the crop this year to help control two-spotted spider mite and Jamie said the Serenade Opti suited this integrated pest management program (IPM). When used as directed, it is soft on most beneficial insect species, including predatory ladybird beetles, green lacewings, parasitic wasps and predatory mites. Importantly, the predatory bug, Orius, which is used extensively in strawberries, has since been added to this list following independent research conducted by cesar.
“We always favour biological controls within our IPM program. It’s important not just for consumer palatability, but also for export markets where we have to be really conscious of MRLs (maximum residue limits). So any biological products that come along, and that are effective, are a definite step forward for the industry.’’
“We know consumers are looking for a cleaner and greener product, and Serenade Opti fits really nicely into that and into our IPM, so we intend to include it in our program going forward.
“It’s great to introduce an effective new biological product to rotate with our traditional chemistry.’’
Teldor® and Serenade® are Registered Trademarks of the Bayer Group.