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Arable

Timing is everything at T2 Boom height is the single biggest controllable factor for drift, growers are advised ahead of T2 applications.

The flag leaf spray is undoubtedly the most important application timing. Protecting both yields and profits, this is the most critical spray timing that growers must get right. Here, a specialist provides some top tips for optimising T2 applications. Syngenta application specialist, James Thomas (right), explains that when it comes to spray applications, there are three main factors to consider for success at this crucial point in the fungicide programme. “Maximising product efficacy, minimising drift and optimising efficiency and timing are all factors that are integral to enhancing spray applications. With these being interlinked, it really goes to show how tweaking practices in the yard and in the field can play a big part in improving application success to get the most out of the chemistry applied.”

Reducing drift With the regulatory landscape constantly evolving, spray drift from challenging conditions is unacceptable. Not only this, Mr Thomas explains that there is a cost associated with drift. “Growers will be spending a lot of money on robust fungicide programmes to

ensure they’re investing in powerful and proven chemistry that will keep disease at bay. “Therefore, for it to do the job it is designed to do, it must be hitting the target site. Drift can see vital chemistry blown off target, and so as well as regulatory pressures there is also a financial incentive to reduce drift.” He says that weather is a variable that can’t be controlled, and spraying in favourable conditions would be the preference when it comes to drift reduction. “However, with T2 sprays, growers have a very short spray window to ensure they are hitting the flag leaf at the right time to stay ahead of disease. In light of this, there are a few tips to follow that will help improve application in marginal conditions to ensure spray timings are optimised. “Firstly, look at boom height. This is the single biggest controllable factor for drift. Increasing the boom height from 50 to 80cm can treble the effect of drift, so keeping the boom low will help mitigate this risk

and ensure the correct coverage of the target site at the right time. “Forward speed is another controllable factor to consider. Ideally, forward speeds should be no more than 12km/hour to reduce the susceptibility of drift. “Another tip for reducing drift is nozzle selection. The Amistar nozzle, for example, has been designed specifically for applying fungicides to cereals while reducing drift. It works by creating a venturi to create air bubbles filled with spray liquid. When this is sprayed onto crops the bubbles ‘pop’ and the liquid is spread evenly over the leaf resulting in good coverage of the active ingredients. “Again, not only does this help reduce drift, but it also helps improve the efficacy of the product at the target site,” adds Mr Thomas.

Efficiency and timing As well as looking at the technology and equipment, Mr Thomas explains that there are some time-saving, practical tips that can make a real difference in ensuring that when the conditions are

right, growers are ready to go. “Make sure you take time in the chemical store to organise products by category, with fungicides, herbicides and insecticides clearly segmented. This will make it easier to quickly identify the right products needed in line with recommendations. “Another tip is to copy spray recommendations onto a whiteboard hung on the sprayer to ensure they are legible, and to save time when filling the tank.” As well as time-saving tips for in the yard, Mr Thomas recommends altering water volumes to increase efficiency in the field. “By cutting water volumes from 200-litres/ha to 100-litres/ha, which can be done with Syngenta’s new SDHI fungicide, Elatus Era (benzovindiflupyr + prothioconazole), tank output can increase by as much as 30 per cent. “This 30 per cent increase means more crops can be sprayed per day, resulting in growers getting across the farm quicker, and with T2 sprays specifically, ensuring the application timing is optimised. “At the end of the day, it’s all about making life that little bit easier. For T2 application, timing is everything and a preventative approach to disease control should be prioritised to keep the flag leaf as green as possible,” he says. “Product choice at T2 is an important decision for growers. A fungicide that gives persistent disease control against key economically damaging cereal diseases, and can enhance green leaf area duration, such as Elatus Era, is ideal.” ■

- Positively Metered • 24m Application • Positive Displacement Metering • GPS Speed Control • 250l Hopper • Twin Disc System • Full Rate Control

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