KEEPING disease pressure under control is a cornerstone of 75 years of high-quality vegetable production for the Taylor family.
Taylor Family Produce is based in the Granite Belt region of southern Queensland, near Stanthorpe, producing leafy vegetables including wombok, celery, silverbeet and lettuce, as well as broccoli.
The high-quality standards are due to a combination of factors, including the unique climate in the region, the family's growing techniques and the eye for detail owner Ray Taylor possesses, means they produce great vegetables even in difficult seasons.
Part of the puzzle to achieving these results is dealing with significant disease pressures created by the rainfall the Granite Belt receives in an average year.
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"Major diseases impacting our production include sclerotinia, white blister in broccoli, and downy mildew in lettuce, and some of those diseases can result in quite significant crop losses," he said.
"In the last three to five years we've noticed more pressure particularly from white blister in broccoli, so we're always looking for new chemistry, and new ways of attacking the disease."
Mark Rogers from EE Muir & Sons at Stanthorpe provides agronomic services to Taylor Family Produce, and he agrees that white blister can be a devastating disease.
"It can be a big problem at certain times of the year, especially when you have the right weather conditions, so high humidity, rainfall and the right night-time temperatures seem to be quite important for white blister in this area," Mr Rogers comments.
"Going back five years ago when white blister first became such an issue on the Granite Belt, when we didn't have some of the chemistry we've got today, we were finding upwards of 40 to 50 per cent losses in some broccoli crops."
Infinito fungicide from Bayer was registered for downy mildew control in leafy vegetables, as well as downy mildew and white blister control in brassica vegetables in 2018.
The product brings two new chemical groups to the market - Group 28 (propamocarb) and Group 43 (fluopicolide).
For Mr Rogers, it was a welcome opportunity to introduce new chemistry to the Taylor operation, bringing another control option to problem diseases such as white blister.
They've started using Infinito at the label rate of 1.6 litres per hectare at the pre-heading stage for broccoli with good results.
"We're trying to use it prior to when the disease actually starts to show up. Infinito worked really well in 2018, as good as any of the products we've had in the past, particularly being such a hard year for growing crops," Mr Rogers said.
"We've had some really trying conditions in terms of dry weather but also the humidity at times and high temperatures, so Infinito has worked really well in controlling white blister."
The major reduction in white blister isn't the only benefit of Infinito, with the ease of use also a highlight, according to Mr Rogers.
"I know that Ray has mixed Infinito with quite a number of products, and we've found its compatibility to be really good," he said.
"Traditionally, he uses products like Belt insecticide, which mixes really well in the spray programme and he's able to include Infinito in existing tank mixes, it's really good in that respect."
Infinito comes in two pack sizes, a 3L and a 10L pack for both small and large growers, shows good rainfastness and has no withholding period for brassica vegetables and a seven-day withholding period for brassica leafy vegetables, providing flexibility for production systems.
Another significant factor is the resistance management benefits from the two new chemical groups represented by the active ingredients.
"We first used Infinito in 2018 because we were getting a little bit suspicious we were getting some resistance build-up from other chemistry we were using," Mr Taylor said.
"However, bringing Infinito in as new chemistry has been good for our business, because you don't get resistance build-up from some of the older chemistry; you can break that cycle with another option to get disease control over longer periods of time."
Having had good success with Infinito over the last season, it goes without saying that the fungicide has a strong place in the chemical rotation at Taylor Family Produce moving forward.
The timing of application may be tweaked to be applied as a scheduled spray at a certain time, because both Mr Rogers and Mr Taylor agreed that one early spray can pay dividends for the whole season in terms of getting on top of white blister.
"Infinito will be a big part of our programme in the future, it has a definite fit - and I think it's a new chemistry that'll have a lot of legs for a long time," Mr Taylor said.
"It's given us a new tool in the chest to work with on a rotation basis with other products - it's looking like it's going to be a really good thing for our long-term future."
- Copy supplied by Bayer.