Crop Protection

Leading Melon Producer Uses Luna® Experience to Tackle Key Diseases

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17 April 2024, AU: A fungicide option has emerged for melon and cucurbit growers in the battle against significant fungal diseases like gummy stem blight and powdery mildew. With fewer existing chemistries on the market providing effective control for gummy stem blight, the introduction of this fungicide registration has proven to be a game changer for the Southern Hemisphere’s leading melon producer.


Video: Rapisarda Enterprises Farm Manager Lynk McClelland found gummy stem blight and powdery mildew have been suppressed to a more significant extent than they have seen other chemicals do in the past.

Posing a significant risk to plant health and productivity, these fungal diseases have the potential to cause considerable losses for melon growers like Rapisarda Enterprises in Clare, North Queensland which has grown rockmelons, honeydew melons, watermelons and pumpkins, for two generations.

Lynk McClelland, Farm Manager for Rapisarda Enterprises, is always looking to minimise the potential for resistance to build in existing chemistries used to manage key diseases like gummy stem blight. The introduction of Luna Experience offers another tool in this approach to durable chemical rotations.

“In 2023 we used Luna Experience through the winter growth period, which is usually the toughest time for gummy stem blight on our crops,” says Lynk.

“The length of time to grow a rockmelon in winter is longer than it is in summer, so anything to make the plant last longer is what we need.”

Image: Featuring a dual mode of action and two active ingredients, Luna Experience fungicide is now registered to control gummy stem blight and powdery mildew in melons and cucurbits.

Bayer’s Territory Business Manager for North Queensland David Higgins says Rapisarda Enterprises is very innovative with their approach to disease control, which is why they chose this farm to complete large area trials using Luna Experience.

“Disease control is one of the key issues Rapisarda Enterprises faces, and the registration of Luna Experience solves two of their disease burdens in gummy stem blight and powdery mildew in a more cost-effective way,” David comments.

Image: Bayer’s Territory Business Manager for North Queensland David Higgins says Luna Experience solves two of Rapisarda Enterprises main disease burdens in a more cost-effective way.  

Nutrien Ag Solutions Agronomist in Ayr, North Queensland, Eilis Walker says Luna Experience is made up of two active ingredients – fluopyram and tebuconazole – and comes with a range of benefits, which makes the fungicide a great one for growers to use in their program.

“Luna Experience has a dual mode of action and comprises Group 7 and Group 3 chemistry, which work exceptionally well together,” Eilis explains. 

“The benefit is you get two modes of action working to control gummy stem blight, you don’t have to double up on chemistry, and you don’t need another general protectant mixed in either.”

Eilis says Nutrien Ag Solutions recommends Luna Experience as a part of preventative and precautionary programs, as applying after disease has developed means growers will not get the good control needed to keep plants on an upward trajectory in their crop health.

“We apply Luna Experience before the disease is actually seen within the crop, so at the late budding and initial flowering phase, and we find that strategy gives really good residual control,” Eilis says.

Image: Nutrien Ag Solutions Agronomist Eilis Walker says the results she has seen means she can confidently and safely recommend Luna Experience to effectively combat gummy stem blight.

The trials at Rapisarda Enterprises commenced early in the season with grower applied blocks, followed by small plot trials and hand applied compatibility trials, in conjunction with a mix of other products. This has proven Luna Experience’s ability to be a versatile fungicide for melon growers, and Eilis says she can confidently and safely recommend it as a part of a program to combat gummy stem blight.

“The control we’ve seen has been really well received both through our crop monitoring and from the grower’s perspective, and I can say with great confidence that it will continue to have good control on gummy stem blight,” she explains.

“In our crop monitoring, we’ve seen that by using this strategy Luna Experience has good control on gummy stem blight, and we’ve seen plants move forward in their growth stages. For our growers this means increased productivity and profitability, as more first grade fruit is coming off and a better quality of produce is hitting our supermarket shelves.”

From the grower’s perspective, Lynk found gummy stem blight and powdery mildew have been suppressed to a more significant extent than they have seen other chemicals do in the past.

“The support from Bayer with Luna Experience this season has been exemplary. They have done a large-scale compatibility trial on farm to see that Luna Experience will mix well with a wide range of insecticides and fungicides, which it does. This means there is another tool in the toolbox for combating the diseases that are a problem to us,” Lynk says.

Following Eilis’ recommendation, and with the improvement in disease control they have experienced first-hand, Lynk says Rapisarda Farms will definitely use the fungicide as the main tool to combat gummy stem blight in the future.

“Luna Experience has fantastic crop safety and wide-ranging tank mix capability with the fungicides and insecticides that we use here on-farm. For us, that means we have excellent crop health and we have spray applicators that are happy to use the product,” he says.

For more information on Luna Experience, explore the Bayer website, contact your local Bayer representative or preferred distributor, and refer to the product label.

Also Read: ADAMA Launches New Cereal Fungicide Maganic®

(For Latest Agriculture News & Updates, follow Krishak Jagat on Google News)

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