Smooth flow characteristics is one of the key traits of a new alternative for in-furrow fungicide treatment against the important potato disease, rhizoctonia solani.

This pathogen causes yield sapping stem and stolon cankers and unsightly skin blemishes on tubers, causing 30% yield loss and irregularly shaped and different sized tubers, making huge marketable losses.

Just recently an important fungicide for seed, pencycuron, has been withdrawn from the UK market because of uncertain regulatory issues to do with MRLs (maximum residue levels). Another fungicide has had application issues, being particularly aggressive on equipment and prone to blocking nozzles, so potato growers have been looking at options to fill this gap.

Two years ago, BASF launched the first SDHI fungicide for in-furrow treatment for rhizoctonia solani in potatoes. Based on Xemium (fluxapyroxad), Allstar showed excellent efficacy in development trials to produce more marketable, brighter and more uniform potatoes with fewer skin blemishes than the more traditional in-furrow fungicide. It is a much ‘kinder’ product too, resulting in more even emergence.

BASF’s potato specialist, Paul Goddard, said at the recommended 0.8 l/ha in the furrow, its advanced new SC formulation can be applied through all commercial in furrow applicators and the product has been designed to flow through all existing applicators.

He said that Allstar had been tested ‘to extremes’ at different concentrations, pressures and water volumes through a Team Compact 120 sprayer, which had no modifications and did not cause any blockages.

“Applying an effective fungicide in the furrow, you want no problems with application. You do not want the planting process interrupted in any way, or the application to be compromised – even with flow sensors on nozzles it is possible for output to be reduced without knowing,” he pointed out.