Agronomist and UPL technical manager for the UK and Ireland, Stuart Jackson is crediting Microgenetics’ SwiftDetect test for providing him with the information he needs to give growers ‘concrete recommendations’ for treating their crops.
Prior to discovering SwiftDetect in 2021, Mr Jackson could only make educated guesses about the health of a plant. “Traditionally, when we carry out a trial, we make a visual assessment of the disease present at the time of the application,” Mr Jackson said.
“But that would only tell us what was already visible if something had already appeared on the surface of the leaf. It never gave us an indication if there was any latent infection – if disease is going through its lifecycle within the plant and not expressing any visible symptoms on the surface.
“SwiftDetect gave us a better indication of what we were doing in our trials and therefore we could provide better recommendations to growers in terms of how we should use the product.”
The SwiftDetect test uses patented technology to determine how much disease is in a crop, with results in one business day. It can test for light leaf spot disease in oilseed rape; Septoria, yellow rust, brown rust and mildew in wheat; and ramularia in barley.
Mr Jackson also noted that using SwiftDetect could help farmers with their on-farm costs, as well as reducing environmental pressures, as it can better inform growers of when they need to use products. “You can answer the question: “Do I need to spray today?” with certainty if you discover there is no infection in a plant.”
“It also gives us the opportunity to look at the chemistry being used and decide if something curative is needed to clean up latent infection, or if a protective product could be used because there isn’t any infection present in the leaf,” he continued.
“As an agronomist, it gives us the opportunity to tailor our recommendations so that a grower has all the information they need to make an informed decision.”