BARLEY, OVERBERG REGION, 2016
During the last week of September 2016, the first of these Answer Plot events were held in the Overberg region with a particular focus on Barley diseases, application efficiencies and decision support tools.
The venue for the first Answer Plot event was close to Napier in the Overberg region.
A record number of 116 delegates attended this event. This event was held in collaboration with InteliGro, one of Villa’s dealers in this region.
The format of the Answer Plot event was designed around 3 main subjects; barley disease control, spray deposition and application technology and the use of decision support tools
Barley is, after wheat, the most important small grain in South Africa. The cultivation area for malting barley under dryland conditions is at present restricted to a very specific region, viz. the Southern Cape, which stretches from Bot River in the west to Heidelberg in the east (www.sabbi.org) South African Barley farmers produce around 334 000 tons of barley on approximately 90 000 ha annually. In 2015 the average yield was around 3.5 ton/ha. Crop Protection is one of the highest variable input costs associated with the production of Barley. With regards to the control of diseases, numerous pathogens can cause havoc. Most notable diseases include, rusts, powdery mildew, net blotch, tan spot and more recently Rumalaria leaf spot. During the Answer Plot event we discussed the different diseases, groups of fungicides available in South Africa and the key timing for applications.
Marius Boshoff, National Marketing Manager at Villa Crop Protection, presented on disease management practises. Delegates then visited our extensive field trial where different program applications of fungicides could be seen in practise.
Application technology is a vitally important aspect in pest and weed control, but has received little attention in South Africa in the past. Todd Cardwell, Senior Agronomists from Winfield Solutions USA, did a general presentation on application technology, with the emphasis on spray nozzles and the use of Interlock™, a new generation deposition aid. In his presentation, Todd emphasized the use of the correct nozzles, and that the use of Interlock™ could further reduce the drift of fine droplets. This was also demonstrated practically with the use of a spray table.
At the adjuvant point, Brian de Villiers, Villa product manager for Adjuvants and Voltan Senekal, Marketing Advisor gave a presentation on where Villa will focus on adjuvants in future, namely (1) adjuvants that address problems in the tank, (2) in the air and also (3) on the crop plant or weed. Emphasis was placed on deposition, with special reference to the amount of active ingredient that is lost through the incorrect droplet size. It was emphasized that deposition-aids not only reduce drift, but also increase both deposition and canopy penetration. This facilitates improved disease, insect and weed control, simply by ensuring that more droplets reach the intended target. Water-sensitive paper was used indicating the effect of Interlock versus the application without a deposition-aid.
One of the key drivers in future agriculture relates to the use of remote sensing as a decision support tool. Deon Coetzee, Marketing Advisor for the Cape region, provided feedback on a pilot project in the region. Villa, through Winfield has many years of experience in the field of satellite imagery systems, measuring general plant stress and providing advice to growers. The pilot project was launched during the growing season where approximately 3000 ha of cereal fields were monitored using both low and high resolution satellite imaging. The discussion centred around how these tools could potentially add value to farmers and stakeholders in the industry. A clear conclusion to the use of these type of tools was the need to incorporate agronomic advice and interpretation.