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Sustainability through knowledge

September 2009

WATER QUALITY IS CRITICAL FOR GOOD GLYPHOSATE RESULTS: Water from any source (dams, boreholes, municipal supply) contains dissolved salts such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and iron. Some sources contain high levels of these salts, which bind to glyphosate active ingredient and limit the absorption of the herbicide by the plant. This manifests itself as slow uptake and poor activity, resulting in reduced weed control.

exactly the correct amount of adjuvant thereby ensuring cost-effective weed control. If water sampling is a problem, general rates appear on the label.

By using VELOCITY adjuvants, antagonistic salts are neutralized which is a good start to ensuring glyphosate efficacy. Please refer to the respective labels for rates and other features of these two adjuvants.

It is well known that adjuvants containing ammonium sulphate neutralise this effect when added to the spray water. VELOCITY-GLIFO (L7768) and VELOCITY-DRY (L8330) are two such adjuvants, which contain a highlyrefined form of ammonium sulphate. The purity of the ammonium sulphate is an important characteristic, as contaminants will further antagonise the glyphosate and further reduce weed control. Fertilizer grade ammonium sulphate, for example, does not make a good adjuvant in spite of its low price, as it contains a host of impurities. The VELOCITY adjuvants above come from Villa Crop Protection, and are registered for use with most well-known brands a glyphosate. This endorses that they are of premium quality. The grower also has the peace of mind to know that they are tried and tested, and that their benefits have been scientifically proven with glyphosate. The rate of either VELOCITY-DRY or VELOCITYGLIFO can be calculated precisely according to the levels salts, as determined in a water sample analysis. •

Your Farmers Agri-Care agent will take a water sample, and send it to Villa Crop Protection. They will analyse the exact levels of calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. From there, a precise rate of VELOCITY can be determined for addition with the glyphosate herbicide. This enables the grower to use

17 years ago when Farmers Agri-Care started, a small company called Exportos supplied us with a portfolio of key products. Today Exportos has become Villa Crop Protection (Pty) Ltd, one of SA’s foremost providers of generic crop chemicals.

Farmers Agri-Care congratulates Villa Crop Protection on their

VELOCITY-GLIFO and VELOCITY-DRY are registered by Villa Crop Protection (Pty) Ltd: Velocity-Glifo, L7768, CAUTION, contains 500 gai/litre ammonium sulphate Velocity-Dry, L8330, CAUTION, contains 1000 gai/litre ammonium sulphate

CROP ENHANCEMENT FROM AMISTAR Ahead of the Pack, time and again! By Jonty Ross

In a relatively short time, Amistar has become the most important fungicide in maize production in KZN. It belongs to the strobilurin group of fungicides, which have now been in commercial use for nearly 13 years. Considerable research efforts have been invested into these compounds, and their overall benefits to crop production can be divided into 2 parts: 1. Disease Control: As far as disease control goes, Amistar has a number of unique characteristics: • Amistar (and all the strobilurins) are essentially preventative fungicides, i.e.: they are applied before infection. The principle of “prevention is better than cure” holds true in plant disease management, and preventative fungicide applications have been found to perform better than corrective applications. Not allowing the fungus to enter the host plant and start its lifecycle results in a healthy plant. • Strobilurins are persistent compounds that remain in the plant for long periods of time thus allowing this fungicide group to be positioned in the preventative fungicide program. Here, Amistar has different characteristics from other strobilurins, in that it moves to the new and emerging growth after application. Other strobilurins have only translaminar mobility, moving through a leaf from one side to the other. Amistar has full systemic activity, moving within the plant to protect new growth. • Amistar Top is a further advancement of the product Amistar, in that it is a combination triazole and strobilurin containing fungicide. This combination broadens the spectrum of disease control but more importantly, is a means to address the very real threat of fungicide resistance. 2. Crop Enhancement: Research has indicated that the strobilurin fungicides deliver more than just a pure fungicidal action against target pathogens. They also deliver a physiological “Greening Effect” on their target crops, with associated improvements in crop quality and yield. Some strobilurin manufacturers are even going so far as to promote this ahead of the pest control capabilities of their product.

This phenomenon has now been widely observed by Amistar-users in South Africa. Simply explained, Amistar and its associated “Greening Effect” work in the following way: •

Strobilurins inhibit the production of ethylene in the plant, thereby delaying the onset of senescence or foliar die-back. This preservation of the green leaf material prolongs photosynthetic activity, ultimately producing more carbohydrates. In KZN, Amistar-users are well aware of larger and better quality cobs, because they contain more sugar and starch. A greener leaf will also result in improved water-use efficiency, through reduced transpiration rate. This means the plant can manage the effects of water stress (and therefore drought) more efficiently. Strobilurin-treated crops have also been proven to utilise nitrogen more effectively, this being the first building block for protein formation in the plant.

The crop-enhancing benefits of Amistar Top are typical of the recent improvements in crop protection chemicals. • • •

Early crop chemicals focused solely on pest control, and reducing damage loss from harmful pests. The next generation compounds took it one step further; they protected yield potential. And today, products like Amistar Top from Syngenta actually provide growers with crop enhancement, with proven capability to take yields to a new level.

Syngenta is committed to deliver more cropenhancing products like Amistar Top that boost plant performance.

AMISTAR and AMISTAR TOP are registered by Syngenta South Africa (Pty) Ltd: Amistar, L6230, HARMFUL, contains 250 gai/litre azoxystrobin Amistar Top, L7897, HARMFUL, contains 200 gai/litre azoxystrobin + 125 gai/litre difenaconazole


There are increasing numbers of selfpropelled spray rigs appearing in the maize areas of KZN. To help offset some of the high capital and running costs of these machines, some owners are utilizing them for contract spraying.


The safest formulation of paraquat From:

Over the years, there have been reports of fatalities related to the ingestion of paraquat, including recent incidents here in KZN. Ingestion: Significant steps have been taken by Syngenta, manufacturers of Gramoxone, to prevent accidental swallowing. The product formulation now includes three 'safening' agents to avoid accidental ingestion and to deter misuse: 1. 2. 3.

There are various regulatory requirements contract operators should consider: 1. Obtain a Pest Control Operator’s (PCO) license: This is in fact mandatory. Details available on the Department of Agriculture website. There are a number of categories of pest control operator; choose the appropriate one. 2. Join the SA Pest Control Operators’ Association: This is optional at this stage, but highly recommended. This body looks after the general affairs of pest control operators, and is driving for recognition and regulation at a high level. 3. Get the right insurance cover: Contract spraying in agriculture is a high-risk venture; the right public liability and professional indemnity is an essential. Deal with a specialist broker who understands agriculture and cover for the relevant risk. 4. Correct calibration: Appropriate calibration for the intended application is critically important. This is a specialist job, best left to the machine manufacturer and not your chemical agent. Keep all calibration reports and print outs; they will be needed in the event of a dispute. These guidelines apply to all other forms of contract spraying. Contract spraying may appear simple and lucrative, but our advice is to be 100% aware of what you are going into.

Blue dye (to avoid confusion with other liquids), Alerting agent (a strong and deterring odour), Emetic (to induce spontaneous vomiting).

Irritation effects: Paraquat is irritating and harmful to eyes and skin, especially in its concentrated form, so gloves and eye protection should be worn (as with all pesticides when mixing concentrates). Prolonged and repeated contact of spray-strength paraquat with skin, through leaking spray equipment for example, can cause skin irritation of varying severity, and nail damage and nose bleeds. These are visible warnings to the user that he or she is doing something wrong, and should take action to avoid any further health risk. Unfortunately, there will still always be incidents of ingenstion of paraquat by people intent on committing suicide. While crop chemicals are one of the methods used to commit suicide, they are not the most frequent and paraquat is not the most frequently used product. Gramoxone is the only paraquat product with a yellow band label (HARMFUL), because of the safety additions to the formulation, as mentioned above. All other paraquat formulations have a red band label (TOXIC), and should be treated with extra caution. Farmers should ensure paraquat products are: • Stored under lock and key, • Handled only by suitably trained personnel, • Applied by staff with the right protective clothing.

GRAMOXONE is registered by Syngenta South Africa (Pty) Ltd: Gramoxone, L1174, HARMFUL, contains 200 gai/litre paraquat ion


Solution for Total Weed Control in Sugar Hylton Oliver is the Herbicide Product Manager at Bayer CropScience, and was responsible for the commercialisation of Merlin from the beginning. Hylton: “Merlin-based programmes really represent a breakthrough in the approach to weed control in cane. For the first time, a robust herbicide is playing a real role in integrating the cost of application with the cost of hand-weeding, and reducing the whole package. The table below summarises:”



Unique Double Action: • Insoluble 1st phase: remains inert and inactive until moisture arrives

• Start spraying long-term programme as soon as cutting starts • Continue right through dry winter months, within reason

• Synchronised 2nd phase: becomes herbicidally active with moisture, coinciding with seed germination

• Overcomes timing dilemma: can apply at unfavourable stages of weed growth

• UV resistant: will not break down in sunlight

• Spray before timing becomes an issue

• Long residual activity

• Lowest cost per week of weed control

• Spray resources can be utilised more effectively over a longer period

• Major savings on handweeding costs • Uptake via weed seed

• Significant reduction of grass seed population after 3 years • Kills seed before emergence, no uptake of fertiliser by weeds

Hylton: “Considering all these on-farm advantages, Merlin surely represents more than just a cost-saving opportunity or a management tool. It is a source of competitive advantage to our growers. In Brazil, Merlin is used on about 200 000 hectares of cane. These are our global competitors, so local farmers cannot afford to ignore technology like this. Waiting for Merlin to come off patent holds no business logic when one considers the global game.”

MERLIN is registered by Bayer CropScience (Pty) Ltd: L6618, CAUTION, contains 750 gai/kg isoxaflutole


Natural crop protection, gaining momentum The increasing awareness of food safety puts continual pressure on the c o n v e n t i o n a l pesticides industry. This has seen an exponential increase in the investment into research and development of natural, biological pesticides. The US Environmental Protection Agency (Pesticides: Glossary) defines a biological pesticide as: “Certain microorganisms, including insects, bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa that are effective in controlling specific pests. These agents usually do not have toxic effects on animals and people, and do not leave toxic effects on animals and people, and do not leave toxic or persistant chemical residues in the environment.” Biopesticides are inherently less harmful than conventional pesticides. They are designed to work on one specific pest or, in some cases, a few target organisms. This differs from conventional pesticides that often affect nontarget organisms like birds, insects, and mammals. They are effective in very small quantities and often decompose quickly, thereby resulting in lower environmental problems. Being ‘natural’, biopesticides leave little or no residues on the target crops. For this reason, they have become popular on high value export crops, where stringent tests are done by importing countries. When used as a component of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs, biopesticides can greatly decrease the use of conventional pesticides, while crop yields remain high. To use biopesticides effectively, however, users need an integrated understanding of the pest environment: the crop, the target pest, the climate and the product itself. They are generally more prone to things ‘going wrong’ and need serious attention to detail. Understanding this, the use of biocontrol products is best used in an IPM programme. Biological pesticides have a definite role to play in the future of crop protection, although there is still work to be done in terms of their economics and effectiveness. Some do not have the inherent control characteristics to work entirely alone, and are therefore need to be recommended in a programme in conjunction with normal chemical products. In South Africa, there is considerable confusion regarding the registration of biopesticides under Act 36 (1947). As yet, suppliers have no formalised regulatory protocol against which to test and formally register their products. This unfortunately means there are biocontrol products being sold in the local market that have not been tested thoroughly. Check with your Farmers Agri-Care agent before committing to biopesticides on a large scale.

07-Focus on Farming - Sep 09  

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