New fungicide wins the vote of confidence in the Riverina
When Griffith’s Jason Capello first heard about Belanty, the new DMI fungicide for grapes, his mind went straight to a particular block of Verdehlo, owned by one of his clients.
“It’s my powdery block,” says the seasoned Nutrien Ag Solutions agronomist, who works with dozens of private and corporate farmers growing wine grapes, almonds, stone fruit and other crops in the Riverina.
If any new chemistry was going to prove itself on powdery mildew in their conditions, this was the place to test it, on a highly susceptible variety, with a known history of disease problems.
So Jason added it to the Verdelhlo grower’s fungicide program last spring, recommending two applications of Belanty plus sulphur (at pre and early flowering), along with the normal preventative sulphur, copper and strobilurn treatments.
Disease pressure was relatively low, but even so, other blocks in the district were affected.
The Verdehlo, however, was 100% clean, giving him the confidence to recommend it to other growers this season if needed.
“I’ve used other fungicides on that block, and would have expected to see some powdery mildew come through, even with some of the really good chemistry that is already on the market. But there was no sign at all this season. I was very happy.”
After 20 years of providing agronomy extension and advice, working for both the state and commercial suppliers, he’s well-versed in the value of novel crop protection chemistry, and its role in helping safeguard sustainable production for future farming generations.
But seeing is believing when it comes to making the right input recommendations for his customers, especially when they are facing their own challenges, particularly around water pricing.
Which is why he was so keen to test Belanty when BASF gained approval for the unique new fungicide last year.
“We do get quite a lot of new products coming in, and it can be hard picking and choosing between them. It makes such a difference when you can actually see the results yourself.
“Now that I’ve seen how it works, if we do get a pressure year for powdery mildew in grapes, I can be confident recommending at least one Belanty treatment as part of a fungicide program.”
His experience with other BASF solutions further influenced his interest in Belanty, he says.
“Cabrio has been very well-received in the market, and we had quite good response to Merivon fungicide for almonds last year. I’ve also used a lot of Sharpen herbicide, and it’s done well, too.
“It’s good to know they’re bringing new chemistry to the market, with a fairly expansive pipeline coming through that’s not just limited to one category.”
Belanty is a Group 3 fungicide which provides immediate protective action against disease, as well as longer residual activity. It has a safer residue profile with a later application window than other DMIs, and maximum residue limits (MRLs) have already been approved for export to the EU.
It can also control pathogen strains that are resistant to traditional DMI fungicides, a critical attribute not lost on Jason.
“Fungicide resistance is not a big issue for us here, but even so, I prefer to rotate chemical groups from year to year. You never know. You can’t just assume it’s all good.
“We’ve got a lot of challenges with herbicide resistance, so we’ve experienced that well and truly. To have the same thing happen with a plant fungal pathogen would be a nightmare.”