In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent, fungicide treatments appear to be increasingly important this season to combat the conditions created by California’s wet weather. The amount of rain that much of the state has received has also made it challenging for growers to make the necessary applications.
“For the last probably four, almost five years, fungicides have been put on the back burner as far as bloom sprays go because it’s been dry for the most part. This year, they’re not on the back burner anymore, they’re on the front side,” said Field Market Development Specialist for Valent USA Todd Burkdoll. “This year is a year where you’ve got to step it up a little bit because the weather has been rain event, after rain event and with that moisture comes potential for disease development and growth.”
Burkdoll explained the role that wet weather plays in the disease triangle with creating an ideal environment for fungal diseases to grow especially when temperatures hit 60 degrees and above. Burkdoll also noted the adage ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ with regard to fungicides. “The things that fungicides do is take out the pathogen by either inhibiting sporulation or inhibiting infection, or stopping infection if it’s already infected,” said Burkdoll, “but that’s not where we want to really see them, we want to see it on a preventative basis rather than a curative basis.”
Growers that might not have been able to apply their fungicide treatments in a preventative fashion can still get their applications done despite the muddy conditions in orchards. “You’ve always got the option for aerial application and actually aerial applications during bloom have been shown to be pretty effective depending on how you put it on, either with a helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft,” said Burkdoll. “If you can’t get into fields by the ground rig because of the wet conditions, that aerial application may be the only option you have.”
Listen to the report below.