Systiva shines in ‘real world’ comparison
Hayden Lunn, a Nutrien agronomist based at Finley in New South Wales, has had confidence in Systiva as a fungicidal seed treatment for barley from the start. Its impressive control in conditions that have favoured disease over the last two years has confirmed its ongoing value.
“I started recommending Systiva when it first came out,” Hayden says, “especially on Planet barley, which is quite susceptible to net blotch. The treated crops were so clean – clean right up to head emergence.”
That length of control produced a big pay-off. “Normally we would have used two foliar sprays, starting with one well before head emergence. So using Systiva saves us at least one application.”
Even after factoring in that saving, Hayden is pretty hard-headed about calculating the economic benefit of using Systiva. That’s why he recommends it so highly for Planet barley.
“When people are sowing at a rate of 40 kilos a hectare or less, which is suitable for high-yielding barley crops like Planet, it works out very economically.”
Five years after its release, Systiva is working as well as ever on Hayden’s patch. “In the last two years, we’ve had quite a lot of disease pressure and Systiva’s done a good job. It’s proved itself again this year. All through the early stages the crops were clean and the first signs of disease only began around head emergence.
Hayden says there’s no sign of resistance on his customers’ farms, and that reflects the strength of the crop rotations in the area: “There’s no barley-on-barley.”
Back when he first saw Systiva demonstration trials, Hayden remembers the control Systiva provided was immediately obvious: “The treated crops compared to untreated was just such a vast difference.” In 2021 he’s been able to make similar comparisons, but this time on a commercial scale under ‘real world’ conditions.
Three of his growers who sowed barley ended up using different fungicide treatments, so he was able to keep an eye on one paddock on each of their farms and compare the results.
“The barley in the first paddock was just sprayed with a foliar fungicide,” he explains. “That crop was green, but there was a lot of disease.
“The second crop was treated with Systiva and sown into fresh ground. It was very clean and the first foliar spray wasn’t needed until the heads were fully out.”
That first foliar spray was quite a bit later than BASF would normally recommend, but of course there needs to be flexibility in every program.
“The third grower had flutriafol on his fertiliser and then he sowed Systiva-treated seed. You really couldn’t find any disease in that paddock, but it was only marginally cleaner than straight Systiva. There’s probably a slight benefit, but it's not something you’d do every year.”
For Hayden, treating barley with Systiva is still the best way to set up lasting control. “We’ve just sprayed for the first time now,” he said in October. “You only really see disease once the Systiva wears off.”
In areas like Finley where barley is part of a normal crop rotation and growers switch to other fungicidal modes of action for the later foliar sprays, Systiva is still a logical first-choice fungicide to set up the season.