Big future predicted for Group 7 banana fungicide
- Grower Stories
06 Juni, 2018
- Grower Stories
06 June, 2018
The principle reason for the excitement was that Luna® Privilege has a unique mode of action, making it highly effectively in combating key leaf diseases such as yellow Sigatoka, leaf speckle and cordana leaf spot.
That’s according to Area Manager for E.E. Muir and Sons in Tully, Lindsay Horniblow, who says the minimal returns have impacted entire farm management decisions, such as chemical rotations.
“Weather hasn't been as a big a factor as you'd think, it's been more the returns which have been below cost of production for quite some time,” Mr Horniblow explains.
“There are just too many bananas in the ground at the moment - we've actually had one larger grower just in the last couple of weeks that has pulled out of bananas completely to the tune of 160 hectares.
“Panama disease tropical race 4 (TR4) has played a part in this, as well - although to date it’s only been discovered at two locations, they have been significant sized farms, so that's hung over the growers' heads for quite some time too.
The tough couple of seasons have coincided with the first two years the Bayer Crop Science fungicide Luna® Privilege has been available to farmers.
The systemic chemical is designed to control key diseases including yellow Sigatoka, leaf speckle and cordana leaf spot and, importantly, represents the first time Group 7 fungicide chemistry has been used on Australian bananas.
Mr Horniblow says while the new chemistry is welcome, low returns in the banana industry have impacted decision making.
“Luna Privilege came along at a time when there was, and still is, a need for new chemistry to tackle yellow Sigatoka in particular, and those farmers that have taken up Luna Privilege have added it to their spray program with some good results.
“I think the tough couple of years have reflected how much Luna Privilege has been used in the marketplace - because of the poor returns, some growers have opted for cheaper options – although that doesn’t necessarily make them better options.”
The recommendations include aerial application only, a maximum of four sprays on any block from October through to May, a minimum of three applications of alternative fungicides between Luna Privilege applications, plus advice on use rate, oil and water volume.
“I think the stewardship has been maintained - the fact excess product is actually returned at the end of the spray program and guidance around spray windows and the number of applications all contribute to maintaining the efficacy of Luna Privilege,” Mr Horniblow explains.
“I do see a fit for this product in our district moving forward, but there's some basics that need to be followed, along with the stewardship rules as well, such as a good de-leafing program.
“I'm hoping Luna Privilege will be used more in the coming season as part of a robust program – it’s a good product and if it's strategically used, according to the label, Luna Privilege should serve the industry well over a good number of years.”