Evaluation of Integrated Pest Management Systems for the Control of Fungal Diseases Under Consideration of Sustainable Wheat Production and Climate Change in a Long-Term Survey of 26 Years

Foliar diseases are a major threat to worldwide wheat production, especially during the vegetative period in maritime climates. Despite advancements in agronomic practices, infestations by foliar diseases are possible under favourable weather conditions, thus, fungicides are essential for maintaining control. Stage-oriented applications are therefore common in farm practices. The optimization of fungicide use according to biological–epidemiological thresholds, reduces the total amount of fungicides used, which is of political interest, especially in the European Union. Therefore, the efficiency and effectivity of the fungicides used to control the six major foliar diseases (Septoria tritici blotch, glume blotch, tan spot, powdery mildew, stripe rust, and leaf rust) were analysed in a long-term study of 26 years in northern Germany under favourable maritime conditions. Of those diseases, Septoria tritici blotch was the most dominant recurring disease, with high severity noted in every year of the study. The threshold-based disease management system was compared to a fungicide untreated control and a healthy-standard fungicide treatment (according to growth stages). The usage of the threshold-based system reduced the disease severities significantly compared to the fungicide untreated control, without any loss of yield compared to the healthy-standard fungicide treatment. Thereby, the use of fungicides was reduced by two thirds compared to the stage-oriented healthy-standard treatment. Thus, the advantages of the threshold-based system were obvious, and this approach will be an important tool for future evaluations of current farm practices.


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