A newly off-patent prothioconazole fungicide is coming to market this spring – Life Scientific is launching its own version, Aurelia, onto the UK market.

This contains 250g/l prothioconazole and is a broad spectrum fungicide with eradicant and protectant activity for use in many different crops, in an emulsifiable concentrate formulation. It is suitable for use alone or in combination with a wide range of other pesticides to provide effective control of key diseases and is commercially available through distribution partners, ProCam and Hutchinsons.

“Our approach is based on the very strong scientific concept to reverse engineer a product from the original to produce a product accepted as the same by the regulatory authority,” explained Ruth Stanley, Life Scientific’s UK technical manager. “This means we can offer off patent products to agronomists and growers earlier than any other off patent company – which is what we have done with Aurelia.”

It carried out a series of eight separate field trials, across both the UK and France. Mrs Stanley said: “The aim of the trial was to compare the performance of Aurelia against the reference product Proline, in controlling septoria tritici and brown rust in wheat.”

No T1 treatments were applied and crops then received a single application of Aurelia or Proline, between the growth stages 39 and 45. “We carried out disease assessments on leaves 1 and 2 for 3-4 weeks after application. The results were as we had hoped – the performance of Aurelia was the same as Proline.”

Prothioconazole remains a cornerstone of disease control, as part of an integrated approach to disease management, pointed out Jonathan Blake, principal crop research scientist at ADAS. Results shared at the 2019 AHDB Agronomists Conference, showed that in trials over the last three years at full label rate in a protective programme, prothioconazole still contributed as much as 35-45% of control of septoria tritici in winter wheat.

Mr Blake also confirmed good results from prothioconazole in controlling fusarium ear blight – in inoculated trials, prothioconazole reduced levels of DON by as much as 50%. It also provided decent control of powdery mildew.

In barley, ADAS trials showed that prothioconazole-based products are effective in controlling rhyncosporium and net blotch, although higher doses are required for effective net blotch control. There is also good activity both for mildew and tan spot in barley.

Aurelia is also approved for use in winter OSR, providing moderate control of light leaf spot, stem canker and sclerotinia stem rot. In AHDB trials from 2015-2017, prothioconazole also performed consistently well in controlling sclerotinia.