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A garlic-based nematicide has proved its worth in independent sugar beet trials for a second successive season. Second year of success for beet nematicide

A garlic-based nematicide has proved its worth in independent sugar beet trials for a second successive season.

Trials of NEMguard DE in Yorkshire and Thetford during 2021/22 were very encouraging – despited the low risk of docking disorder in 2022, says Alistair Wright, a crop protection scientist with the British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO).

NEMGuard performed as well as Vydate, explained Dr Wright. Sugar beet plants were healthier from establishment relative to the untreated crop, he said.

In addition, root fanging symptoms were significantly reduced.

‘Perfect dose’

Fully randomised trials wereconducted by the BBRO during the 2022/23 campaign to build the body of data and replicate the initial results. Trials were supported by manufacturer Ecospray and Certis Belchim.

NEMguard again improved root quality, said Dr Wright. “There is a perfect dose response to NEMguard from the Yorkshire site, with an improvement in root quality seen as the rate increased, despite it being such a low-risk season.

“Everything looks positive from what we’ve seen so far and should build confidence.” Dr Wright advised growers to get soil testing done ahead of drilling the 2023/24 beet crop.

“Get your drill ready and if you have an free-living nematode issue and risk is high, use it in 2023,” said Dr Wright.

BBRO guidance on application rate is to continue using NEMguard DE at 10kg/ha. But the dose response seen in the 2022/23 trials suggests that growers can move up to the maximum individual dose of 20kg/ha rate to get a healthy payback.

“Even if free-living nematode pressure is moderate, growers should see a return with the current value of sugar beet at £40/t,” said Dr Wright.

“If it turns out to be a wet year, the case is even stronger.”

Growers should ensure their applicators are serviced and calibrated ready for NEMGuard DE application this spring, said Jeremy Booth, eeastern technical account manager for Certis Belchim, which markets the product.