Across Regions, Cultivation/Production, Most viewed stories, New Zealand, Australia, News June 2024, Pests and Diseases

Aussie potato growers first in world to access new fungicide to fight soil borne disease black scurf

Australian potato growers are the first in the world to access significant new fungicide, Excalia, released by leading agricultural solutions company, Sumitomo Chemical Australia to fight the leading disease affecting production.

Excalia, developed by parent company Sumitomo Chemical Co, Japan to fight Rhizoctonia solani (black scurf) will be Sumitomo’s feature product showcased at the 12th World Potato Congress in Adelaide, June 23-26.

It was launched at premier trade show Hort Connections in Melbourne earlier this month, following extensive Australian trials and a rigorous regulatory process spanning the past decade.

“Excalia has proven to be the best defence against soil borne disease Rhizoctonia solani and Yellow sigatoka, a key disease in bananas. It takes management of these diseases to a new level,” Sumitomo Chemical Australia marketing and business development manager Jock Leys said.

Sumitomo Chemical Australia
marketing and business
development manager, Jock Leys

He said the product generated much excitement at Hort Connections from growers in key potato-growing regions of Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia, and he expected a similar reception at the World Potato Congress.

Global product manager, Excalia, Takuya Inoue of Sumitomo Chemical Co, Japan, will join Sumitomo Chemical Australia as a special guest to share his insights and knowledge of the product with growers and congress delegates.

Mr Leys said Rhizoctonia solani was among a suite of five or six diseases and was widespread across the industry.

“It causes lesions and deforms tubers which can have a devastating impact on the marketable yield of an important crop for Australia which produces potatoes over some 30,000 hectares,” he said.

“Potato farmers have been ‘getting by’ until now. We’ve completed three years of in-field screening and trials to ensure its efficacy.

“Growers who’ve tried it have reported a lack of lesions and an improvement in yield, with one in Tasmania citing an increase in 18 tonnes to the hectare above the grower standard fungicide.

“It is applied as an in-furrow spray at the time of planting. Return on investment is high – with increases in economic return many times above the approximate $50 per hectare to put it into the program,” Mr Leys said.

The latest generation fungicide is synthesised at one of Sumitomo Chemical Japan Co’s three discovery research centres, and shipped to Australia for domestic manufacture, packaging, and distribution. It is now available in commercial quantities.

Distribution partnership promising

Mr Leys said Sumitomo’s attendance at Hort Connections had shored up an important meeting with the potato team from leading agricultural supplier Elders to be held in Adelaide prior to the Congress.

“This is a significant step towards developing and streamlining the distribution of Excalia to Australian potato growers. Our objective is to ensure a smooth supply to the market. Growers are keen to learn more and start using it,” he said.

Delegates are invited to visit the team at stand 36, at the World Potato Congress, Adelaide Convention Centre.

Sumitomo Chemical Australia will also share news of its USA-based subsidiary Valent BioSciences’ acquisition of FBSciences – a recognised leader in biostimulants – and therefore Sumitomo Chemical Australia’s foray into marketing biostimulants.

Three new broad-ranging biostimulants – Transit Duo, Zicron and GroMate will also be showcased as well as EndoPrime, a plant and soil enhancement product. It contains mycorrhizae, a beneficial fungi that naturally exist in soils.

Up to 1000 delegates from 40 countries are expected to attend the congress.

Source: Sumitomo Chemical Australia. Original release here
Images: Credit Sumitomo Chemical Australia

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