- Stuart Jackson an agronomist at UPL is crediting a simple test with providing him with the knowledge he needs to give growers concrete recommendations for treating their crops
Stuart Jackson, Technical Manager for the UK and Ireland at UPL, continued using SwiftDetect this year after being impressed with the information it provided in 2021.
The team decided to use SwiftDetect while they were developing fungicide programmes and trialling new products to determine how best to use them.
“Traditionally, when we carry out a trial, we make a visual assessment of the disease present at the time of the application,” Mr Jackson says.
“But that would only tell us what was already visible if something had already appeared on the surface of the leaf. It never gave us an indication of if there was any latent infection – if disease is going through its lifecycle within the plant and not expressing any visible symptoms on the surface.”
Before discovering SwiftDetect, Mr Jackson would need to make an educated guess about the health of a plant, as there was no way of knowing for sure.
“Trying to decide if the product you applied was giving you protective or curative activity at a certain point was really hard and it was impossible to provide a definite scientific answer as to whether it was or it wasn’t,” he says.
However, since using SwiftDetect, Mr Jackson has been able to stop relying on assumptions and now knows with certainty if a product was applied in a protective or curative scenario.
“SwiftDetect gave us a better indication of what we were doing in our trials and therefore we could provide better recommendations to growers in terms of how we should use the product,” he says.
“That was the primary reason why we used the SwiftDetect tool – now we can really start to put some hard and fast recommendations in place for our growers.”
The patented technology behind SwiftDetect can determine the how much disease is in a crop, with results in one business day.
It can test for light leaf spot in oilseed rape, Septoria, yellow rust, brown rust and mildew in wheat and ramularia in barley.
Using SwiftDetect is a sustainable means of cutting back on the amount of product used, a positive for both the environment and a farmer’s bottom line.
“You can answer the question: “Do I need to spray today?” with certainty if you discover there is no infection in a plant,” Mr Jackson says.
“It also gives us the opportunity to look at the chemistry being used and decide if something curative is needed to clean up latent infection, or if a protective product could be used because there isn’t any infection present in the leaf.
“As an agronomist, it gives us the opportunity to tailor our recommendations so that a grower has all the information they need to make an informed decision.”