Rapid disease testing is helping agronomists and farmers to manage disease risks, using accurate data, as Septoria pressures in wheat is reported as high to medium across much of the UK.
One farmer, an Indigro client, has reportedly saved £1,600 on Septoria fungicides after buying a £70 SwiftDetect test.
Damian McAuley, a senior agronomist for Indigro, began using SwiftDetect in 2021. He said: “On one of our client’s farms, we tested for Septoria at pre T1 (leaf 3) stage. One end of the farm was reported to be high risk and the other end low risk.”
“We therefore tailored the inputs accordingly and pulled back fungicide rates by roughly 10% on 400 hectares of wheat, making a £1,600 cost saving.”
SwiftDetect is a rapid test that can detect disease down to just a few pathogen cells, even in the latent period. And, with the increased uptake of SwiftDetect tests, higher than typical Septoria levels have become evident in the areas of Kinross, Hampshire, Nottinghamshire, Cornwall, North Yorkshire, Herefordshire, and Lincolnshire.
Mr McAuley said that SwiftDetect has allowed him to plan for risk more effectively, with the ‘rapid turnaround of SwiftDetect testing’ being what sets it apart.
“We work a week ahead and we need a quick turnaround. Without accurate testing, you can see disease in crops but it’s more difficult to plan for risk, because you don’t always know the extent of the disease threat, especially if it’s in the early stages, where in some cases it isn’t visible,” he adds.
“The test costs us £70 each time and results come back in one working day, potentially saving us time, money and, crucially, impacting the environment less.”
More diseases have now been added to the testing service, including Septoria, yellow rust, brown rust and mildew in wheat, and Ramularia in barley. Light leaf spot in oilseed rape is also going to be added in autumn 2022.
To purchase SwiftDetect, visit: store.microgenetics.co.uk.