Sugar beet growers have less than two months to purchase enough Escolta to meet their crop protection needs for next season.
The key fungicide will be withdrawn from sale after 30 November. A 12-month use-up period will follow – giving growers until the end of November 2022 to use up all stocks of Escolta and other products containing cyproconazole.
The deadline follows a Chemical Regulation Directorate’s announcement that the end of November 2021 will be the last date for sales of cyproconazole-containing products.
Cyproconazole and trifloxystrobin form Bayer’s broad-spectrum sugar beet fungicide, Escolta. Used against powdery mildew and cercospora leaf spot, it is also available with penthiopyrad for use in oats and with azoxystrobin for cereals, oilseed rape and beet crops.
The news has been met with disappointment given the role of cyproconazole in protecting sugar beet crops against rust and powdery mildew. Bayer root crop manager Lizzie Carr-Archer says: “Escolta remains the best performing fungicide available for protecting crops against the dominant disease threats.”
Growers should calculate their requirements to avoid being left with unused stock after the 2022 season.
The yield protection afforded by Escolta has eclipsed other fungicides. Across three contrasting seasons, the average yield benefit of two applications of Escolta was 15.6 t/ha over the untreated control and 4.3 t/ha over those sprayed with epoxiconazole + pyraclostrobin.
Bayer has been working on an Escolta replacement for a number of years. It hopes to receive regulatory authorisation for Caligula – a product based on fluopyram + prothioconazole – ahead of the 2022 season.