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Trials show Aviator Xpro wins for disease control, yields

Results from 2016 trials investigating the effectiveness of new foliar fungicide, Aviator® Xpro®, against blackleg and sclerotinia diseases in canola have reinforced its claim to be the next benchmark for disease control.

In a trial in Western Australia at the West Midlands Group site near Moora, the highest levels of blackleg control were observed following foliar application of Aviator Xpro in combination with an earlier seed treatment or in-furrow flutriafol application (see table).

“It was this multiple fungicide application strategy that really paid off under high blackleg pressure,’’ said Bayer WA Technical Advisor Rick Horbury

“Bringing in a foliar application of Aviator Xpro, with its combination of prothioconazole and the new active bixafen, offering a different mode of action, really extended the disease protection and reduced blackleg infection, which maximised the yield.’’

Gaucho® seed treatment (an insecticide) was used as a non-fungicide reference treatment to assess the impact of blackleg, with the use of Jockey® Stayer® seed treatment reducing the number of lodged or dead plants due to blackleg by 54%.

When Aviator Xpro was applied at 550 mL/ha at the 6-leaf stage, following the Jockey Stayer seed treatment, control increased to 92%, compared to a 78% reduction from the use of flutriafol in-furrow. Using all three in combination recorded 100% control.

EverGol® Xtend was included in the trial due to it being a common seed treatment on purchased seed for the control of damping off and hypocotyl rot caused by rhizoctonia and fusarium. EverGol Xtend is not effective against blackleg and so under higher blackleg risk, it is recommended that Aviator Xpro or flutriafol be applied.
 
The improved control in the trial also translated to increased yields. Using Jockey Stayer seed treatment increased the yield by 19% over the Gaucho treatment and gave a return on investment of $111.61/ha.

The combination of Jockey Stayer and Aviator Xpro increased profitability and recorded a return on investment of $197.07/ha. The addition of flutriafol to this combination further increased control, which lead to a $213.39/ha return on investment.

“While it’s great to see improvements in disease control, it’s really pleasing to see the value added to the grower’s return on investment from using Aviator Xpro,’’ Rick said.

At Temora in New South Wales, Aviator Xpro was applied in a trial comprising different canola varieties with varying levels of blackleg resistance.

Bayer NSW Technical Advisor Gus MacLennan said positive yield responses were recorded across all blackleg resistance groupings, which also correlated strongly with internal stem cankering data, and, as expected, the greatest responses were on varieties with lower blackleg resistance.

Gus said results with Bonito, a commonly grown variety that is rated moderately resistant to moderately susceptible (MR-MS) to blackleg, were particularly interesting.

“The Group A genetics that this and other varieties rely on heavily for disease resistance have started to become less effective and, hence, additional control measures such as foliar applications of Aviator Xpro will be required for blackleg protection. Where genetic protection isn’t sufficient, yield loss can be significant,’’ Gus said.

In the trial at Temora, applications of Aviator Xpro increased yield by up to 900 kg/ha and oil content by 1.6 % in Bonito. This equated to a return on investment of up to $450/ha, excluding oil bonuses.

In large-scale trials against sclerotinia in Western Australia at Badgingarra, Cataby, Cunderdin and Beverley, Aviator Xpro consistently reduced disease infection and was comparable or superior to Prosaro® foliar fungicide. This was also reflected in smaller plot trials at Badgingarra.

Aviator Xpro recorded excellent disease control in the Badgingarra trial as part of a two-spray program with an 800 mL/ha rate at the 25% flowering timing, which recorded the lowest percentage of severe sclerotinia infection and the highest return on investment of $286.16/ha above the untreated.

“At the end of the day, yield and return on investment is what growers want and Aviator Xpro delivered that in this trial. While some other treatments also reduced disease, it was the green leaf retention brought about by superior disease control in the Aviator Xpro treatment that allowed the crop to really achieve its yield potential,’’ Rick said.

In similar trials at Cootamundra in New South Wales and Dookie in Victoria, Aviator Xpro showed better control of sclerotinia than Prosaro.

“While both products were very effective at reducing sclerotinia levels in the trials, Aviator Xpro did perform better,’’ Gus said.

“The longer residual control offered by Aviator Xpro has been a strong advantage this year, with the extended spring being conducive for disease development.’’

Registration of Aviator Xpro for sclerotinia control in canola is expected in time for the 2017 season.  Always use Aviator Xpro according to the most recent registered label.

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