Early start for BlightCast season
Syngenta BlightCast has been launched two weeks ahead of normal this season, with reports of early crops in the south west coming under pressure as plastic covers are removed.
Whilst planting has been progressing across the country in generally good conditions, cool soil temperatures have slowed development.
Now, with forecast temperatures set to warm up, growers and agronomists can be forewarned of conditions conducive to blight.
Syngenta’s BlightCast early warning system has been in operation for nearly a decade, providing registered growers and agronomists with a rolling five-day forecast email.
By adjusting weather parameters, for temperature and relative humidity, it has been possible to update the forecasting to counter against more aggressive strains of blight and, more recently, to integrate the Hutton Criteria into the warnings.
Furthermore, with the development of more sophisticated and affordable weather stations, there is the opportunity to integrate growers' and agronomists' own field data into blight models, for a more bespoke system.
New in-crop leaf sensors to remotely detect and report the hours of leaf wetness are being utilsed in Syngenta blight trials this season.
Sensing gives real-time localised conditions and allows for any irrigation and the canopy humidity microclimate, which could provide a better forward warning of blight risk, compared to weather forecasting alone.
Remote transmission of a live feed of information from weather stations and leaf sensors, integrated into Syngenta BlightCast models, could provide a truly bespoke, field-by-field blight risk model and improved decision making for fungicide selection.