Spray equipment has become an essential tool for farms today. Sugarbeet producers may apply eight or more applications of materials to a single crop. Proper setup and operation of sprayers is critical for effective disease, weed control, and nutrient applications. Michigan Sugar Company recently completed a series of four sprayer clinics for growers and agribusiness. The emphasis this year was best spray techniques for sugarbeet leafspot control. The following is a summary of the best spray techniques for sugarbeet leafspot control as discussed at this year’s clinics:
Spray Techniques for Sugarbeet Leafspot Control
Clinic technicians demonstrated a variety of application techniques to maximize spray effectiveness for disease control and plant health. Nozzle selection is essential to get the proper water droplet size for effective applications. Each nozzle type is different in its design for specific materials to be applied. Droplets that are too large tend to roll off the leaves providing inadequate coverage. Droplets that are to fine can cause chemical loss due to fog evaporation. The clinic provided a demonstration on how small to medium droplet size is best for fungicides. Fungicides used in conjunction with 20 gallons of water per acre gives the best leaf coverage for sugarbeets.
Proper sprayer pressure is essential for the correct application of agrochemicals to optimize plant health. Every nozzle type has the most effective range that materials should be applied. Some herbicide applications may require less pressure and water volume. Fungicides for disease control generally recommend a higher water volume and spray pressures of 70 PSI or above. Nozzles for liquid fertilizer applications also vary depending on whether a material will be applied to the ground or as a foliar feed.
Foliar feeding of sugarbeets with fertilizers and other growth enhancement additives has increased in the last few years. These applications can help supply nutrients in short supply or stimulate growth mechanisms in the plant that can enhance yield or sugar. Germains Seed Technology is currently conducting research trials to evaluate growth enhancement materials applied to the seed and/or foliage.
Summary of Best Spray Techniques for Sugarbeet
In summary, the spray clinics provide growers with recommendations for successful Cercospora leaf spot control. Growers should consider planting more leafspot tolerant varieties. Fungicide applications need to be started early in the season, ideally just before the first sign of disease. Reapply fungicides as recommended by the label or disease prediction models while stretching recommended application intervals can allow the establishment of diseases.
As weather patterns change, it is better to apply fungicide before predicted rainfall not after. Be sure to rotate fungicides and tank mix different materials to increase effectiveness, which helps reduce the development of disease resistance. Research has also shown adding a recommended adjuvant, and deposition aid improves disease control. The importance of timing of sprays and the proper calibration of sprayers is critical to success. Effective control of Cercospora leafspot must be a complete management package. Failing on any one component can significantly reduce effective control.