With great rain in many parts of Australia, the discussion regarding Fungicide Resistance is an important one.
Fungicide Resistance is a Growing Problem
I have read a few times recently that in 60 years we will have no topsoil left under present farming systems. Then I found this was a statement being made from the United Nations. As with a lot of statements from this organization I believe it is highly exaggerated. They never actually said where all the topsoil had gone. Rather, they perhaps should be saying that what should be living, functioning topsoils, will instead be very badly depleted.
It seems the pressure to achieve maximum production with high inputs of chemical fertilisers and chemical sprays has led to compromising the ability of the soils to function in a way that can feed a plant nutrients and keep the plant healthy. The problems are then compounded with resistance of weeds, funguses and insects to the chemicals that are relied upon.
The latest of these is Net Blotch in barley developing resistance to the fungicide chemicals. With the very good spring rains we have enjoyed fungal diseases have taken a hold. Researchers are now working on tools to overcome this resistance as well as many others. It has been very noticeable to me the huge increase in fungicide applications over the last decade whereas one time it was rare to use a fungicide. It is not a coincidence that increasing fungicide applications coincide with increasing Urea applications. It was Dr Therese McBeath, CSIRO Division of Soils who made the statement, “the more Urea that is applied the more fungicide will need to be applied”. To read more, click this link on fungicide resistance
Soils are losing the ability to mineralise nitrogen (Norton) and legumes are fixing only a fraction of the nitrogen they are capable of and sometimes none at all. Thus, the dependence on Urea fertiliser.
As we have emphasized in previous articles the answer lies in living soils supplying balanced nutrition to the plants, building their resistance to fungal and insect attacks. Fungicides are detrimental to the friendly funguses in the soil which supply much of this nutrition.
Maximizing production can be achieved instead through a process of turning our attention to our soils and how we can encourage the life in our soils.
This is what we like to achieve at Soil Management Systems. Our first step in the process is to get your soil tested. Click this link to to learn more about soil testing