Rather than talking just about disease control, the Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based company promotes the overall health benefits the fungicides provide plants.
The philosophical change was apparent at a June 25 field day in Dinuba, Calif., where company representatives talked about Merivon and Priaxor, two new fungicides
“Even small changes in the plant’s physiology can make big differences in the overall yield,” says Jennifer Holland, a technical market specialist.
If human workers are in good health, they typically are happier and more productive.
The same holds true for crops.
Without disease stressors, stomata on the plant leaves tend to remain open longer, resulting in increased photosynthesis, Holland says.
More photosynthesis leads to more energy production—energy that can boost yields and enhance crop quality, she says.
“Photosynthesis counts when you’re talking about yield and talking about quality,” Holland says.
At the Dinuba field station, researchers are able to stretch the limits and create worst-case scenarios that really put products in development to the test, says Kate Walker, a technical services representative for the California Central Coast, Southern California and Arizona.
Each year, they conduct 450-500 trials, says Curtis Rainbolt, station director.
Both Merivon and its sister product, Priaxor, are premixes of BASF’s earlier fungicide, F500, a strobilurin also known as pyraclostrobin, and Xemium.
Pyraclostrobin is the sole active ingredient in Cabrio and is a member of the Fungicide Resistance Action Committee’s Group 11, which contains QoIs.
It also is part of the premix Pristine. The other ingredient is boscalid, a FRAC Group 7.
Xemium, or fluxapyroxad, is a newer carboximide fungicide in the same FRAC group as boscalid.
Merivon contains a 1:1 ratio of F500 to Xemium and will be registered for pome fruit, stone fruit, strawberries and tree nuts. BASF representatives say they expect federal registration the third quarter of this year. California and New York registration will lag behind.
Priaxor contains a 2:1 ratio and is already federally registered for potatoes and tomatoes. It targets early blight, black mold, Septoria leaf spot, target spot and anthracnose.
An expanded label that includes other fruiting vegetables also is expected the third quarter of this year.
In most markets except for grapes, BASF will slowly replace Pristine with Merivon or Priaxor, says Steve Broscious, technical market manager.
In the other crops, Merivon provides better disease control than Pristiine and that’s why the company plans to phase out Pristine, he says.
In grapes, BASF researchers didn’t see significant disease control improvements with Merivon. So Pristine will remain in the grape market, Broscious says.
In Florida strawberries, Merivon controls botrytis gray mold, including those strains with multiple resistance to boscalid and QoIs.
“It’s effective on those strains of botrytis, so we see big things there,” Broscious says. “It’s the number 1 product in terms of the length of post-harvest disease control.
“But I think growers need to be careful to manage their modes of action.”
Although the label recommends making no more than two consecutive applications of Merivon before rotating to a different mode of action, Broscious says he’d prefer to see only one application before switching to further reduce the chances of resistance developing.