Disease threshold-based fungicide applications: potential of multi-disease resistance in winter wheat cultivars in Germany
The presence of foliar pathogens often leads to yield losses in winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), the most important crop in Germany. In this study the efficacy of different host resistance levels of eight wheat cultivars and three fungicide strategies on fungal disease control was studied in terms of yield and net return in field trials at five sites over three crop years. Fungicide treatments included a situation-related strategy in which cultivars were treated individually based on disease control thresholds, a practice-related strategy in which all cultivars were treated after disease thresholds had been exceeded in one cultivar, and an untreated control. Disease severity and incidence differed between cultivars and were reduced by fungicide treatments compared to the untreated control. On average over all locations and years, the Fungicide Treatment Frequency Index (TFI) of all cultivars treated with the situation-related strategy was significantly lower than those treated with the practice-related strategy, except the highly susceptible cultivar JB Asano. A reduction of the TFI by up to 82% was possible in the situation-related strategy. Despite slightly increased yields in the practice-related strategy compared to the situation-related strategy, these could not compensate for the higher fungicide costs in most cases and led to lower net returns. The cultivars with multi-disease resistance showed clear advantages. Their potential benefits are not only demonstrated by the attainment of high yields, but also in fungicide savings without reducing net returns, provided that their disease resistance characteristics are taken into account.