A Leading-Edge Fungicide Helps Control Fusarium Head Blight
A. Eric Tedford, Ph.D., technical product lead for fungicides at Syngenta:
Fusarium head blight, or head scab, is caused by the soilborne fungal pathogen Gibberella zeae, also known as Fusarium graminearum. The symptoms of Fusarium head blight include heads that look like they’ve been bleached. Infected heads die prematurely and lose the normal green color of a healthy head. Infected grain shrinks and wrinkles as it loses moisture and often takes on a soft-gray to pink color.
Q. Why is this disease such a threat to cereal crops?
A. In addition to reducing grain yield and quality, the pathogen that causes Fusarium head blight also produces mycotoxins — including deoxynivalenol, also known as DON or vomitoxin. The Federal Drug Administration regulates these toxins, and it can reject crops if toxin levels exceed regulated tolerance levels, which are generally set very low in parts per million.
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A. There are very few fungicides registered for control of Fusarium head blight because the pathogen that causes the disease, Fusarium graminearum, is so difficult to manage. Until the recent development of Miravis® Ace fungicide, Syngenta didn’t have a horse in the race. Miravis Ace contains our new carboximide active ingredient, Adepidyn® fungicide. A good way to think about how it works is to envision the fungus as a lock and the Adepidyn molecule as a key. To kill the pathogen, the key needs to fit into the lock. We were able to stretch the Adepidyn molecule by adding an N-methoxy ethyl linker so that it would fit into the locks of difficult-to-control pathogens like Fusarium, Sclerotinia and Corynespora. As a result, we now have a fungicide that can control Fusarium head blight on cereals as well as white mold and target spot on soybeans.
Q. Why is Miravis Ace considered a step change in Fusarium head blight management?
A. Fusarium head blight is a challenging disease to manage because, generally, for good control, you need to protect the flowers; and the best results occur when fungicides are applied as near as possible to full flowering. This is a fairly short window of time. For many large growers, it means they have to treat vast acres in a relatively short time frame.
Adepidyn has excellent biokinetic or stamina-related features that allow for greater application flexibility. This flexibility means we can begin applications of Miravis Ace sooner than full flowering, without compromising efficacy or yield benefits. Growers can actually apply at 50% head emergence instead of waiting for full flowering. This also means that growers can start spraying sooner to get across their acres, without racing the clock and with a greater window for successful coverage. In short, Miravis Ace is a step change, compared with the other fungicides that are registered for Fusarium head blight control. Q. Does Miravis Ace fungicide only control Fusarium head blight?
A. No, Miravis Ace contains two active ingredients: Adepidyn and propiconazole, both of which have broad-spectrum activity against a number of foliar diseases of cereals. In addition to Fusarium head blight, Miravis Ace provides control of barley scald, black point, Helminthosporium leaf spot, powdery mildew, leaf and glume blotch, net blotch, Septoria blotch, spot blotch, rusts, and tan spot. When applying Miravis Ace, growers benefit from the control of multiple diseases, not just one.
Q. What other agronomic practices can help growers protect their acreage?
“Our goal is to provide the resources our customers need to get the most out of every application they make.”
A. Any agronomic practice that will minimize the pathogen population can help out some. For example, it’s best to rotate crops so that you aren’t growing wheat after wheat or wheat after corn. Deep plowing infected debris can also reduce surviving inoculum. There are no varieties that are fully resistant to Fusarium head blight, but you can select varieties that have moderate levels of resistance.
Q. Where can growers and resellers go for more information on controlling this costly disease?
A. At Syngenta, we’re always here to answer questions and offer assistance that can help growers and resellers overcome the challenges they face in the field, including those that Fusarium head blight causes. All across the country, we have local experts who can provide one-on-one support. Our easy-to-use Rep Finder tool at www.syngenta-us.com/rep-finder can help connect growers and resellers to our representatives in their areas. Also, technical experts in our Customer Center are just a phone call away at 1-866-SYNGENTA. For more information specifically on Miravis Ace, people can go to www.sprayearlier.com.
Our goal is to provide the resources our customers need to get the most out of every application they make. We look forward to developing more solutions that can help boost their chances for success.