2022/2023 xarvio® FIELD MANAGER season review
- In 2023, the French health situation was destabilizing for cereal growers.
- xarvio® FIELD MANAGER decision tool proved its reliability in reducing treatments on winter wheat and barley, without compromise on yield.
Despite a context of generalized early disease pressure in 2023 in France, the predictions of the xarvio® FIELD MANAGER digital solution have once again demonstrated their reliability. A solid experimental network demonstrates that these predictions have enabled the maintenance of optimum yields, while reducing fungicide treatments and even the frequency of treatment by 52% in winter wheat and 24% in winter barley.
Single treatment recommendation: risky or profitable?
In winter wheat this year, the disease situation has destabilized most French cereal growers. Septoria, which arrived very early in the season, was clearly visible on the lower leaves of the plants. xarvio® FIELD MANAGER triggered a T1 recommendation in 32% of cases (10 points more than in 2022, even though the risk of yellow rust was half as high this year). For the remaining 68% of plots, Arvalis disease models, at the heart of the xarvio® FIELD MANAGER algorithm, have favored varietal tolerance. In these cases, xarvio® FIELD MANAGER did not trigger a treatment recommendation, even though tolerance was often only shown around the 3-node/last-pointing-leaf growth stage, leaving an impression of "dirty plots" in the fields.
"Some technicians wondered about the models, because it had been a long time since we'd seen early Septoria pressure," explains Frédéric Cardon, digital solutions manager at Agrial (accredited distributor of xarvio® FIELD MANAGER in France). "However, xarvio® FIELD MANAGER has not been challenged on this point."
Indeed, a single treatment when the last leaf was well spread was enough to preserve the upper parts of the wheat, which account for 80% of yield. Moreover, unlike 2022, pressure at the end of the cycle was low, so a T3 was also unnecessary.
"In our 13 BASF trials carried out in 2023, there were only 12 quintals of pest damage on average. The fungicide frequency treatment of the xarvio® FIELD MANAGER modality was 0.4 for varieties with low sensitivity such as Chevignon, KWS Extase or LG Absalon, and 1.3 on average for sensitive varieties, i.e. more than half less than usual farmers' practices, while statistically giving the same yield as the best positioning" explains David Malavergne, xarvio® Agronomy Manager for France. "On varieties with low sensitivity, even if there were diseases on the lower leaves, a single treatment at the last spreading leaf proved to be the most cost-effective."
In winter barley, a recommendation of T1 at 1-2 node growth stage took place on 35% of plots in 2023 (8 points more than in 2022). This is still less than average farmers' practices. Panel data indicate a program of 2 or even 3 treatments on 60% of barley plots in France. Here again, BASF small-plot trials show a potential reduction in frequency treatment: 24% lower than farmers' practices, with no impact on yield.
Greater accuracy, even across heterogeneous plots
In 2023, xarvio® FIELD MANAGER predicted an average of 18 days between the earliest and latest plot treatment triggers. Indeed, within a single farm, there is a great deal of variability due to the multiplicity of varieties and sowing dates, but also because some farms are very fragmented. In practice, however, most farmers treat all their plots on the same day with the same program. xarvio® FIELD MANAGER enables farmers to anticipate and have an overall view of all their plots, and in particular their heterogeneity. "With the 3-week forecasts provided by xarvio® FIELD MANAGER, the farmer has time to step back and adapt programs by plot group. The aim is first to ensure yields through optimal positioning, and also to reduce fungicide treatments in T1 or T3 to a minority of plots," says Sarah Chenevier, Marketing Manager for xarvio® FIELD MANAGER in France.
To measure the value of the xarvio® FIELD MANAGER solution, the xarvio® team has been accumulating results from over 130 small plot trials in France for more than 10 years. The evidence is clear: whatever the year, xarvio® FIELD MANAGER doesn't result in any yield loss compared with regional practices. In fact, on average over the last 6 years, xarvio® FIELD MANAGER has enabled farmers to save €31/ha on winter wheat and €20/ha on winter barley, thanks to optimum treatment positioning and lower treatment frequency. "Thanks to the support of BASF's experimental network, we can provide robust proof of the tool's long-term reliability," adds Sarah Chenevier. "We have also been maintaining a network of large-plot trials for several campaigns, with analysis of yield maps, to measure the value of fungicide variable rate application. In 2023, farmers were able to reduce their fungicide doses by 9% on average, with no impact on their yields. These pragmatic results are a real asset in convincing farmers that it's worth the effort to change their practices.”
Enhanced and extended field management
Field monitoring with xarvio® FIELD MANAGER has been extended to other crops. Already proven on cereals, xarvio® FIELD MANAGER has been chosen as the official integrator of Arvalis' Mileos® mildew model, and has unveiled a new potato module which will be launched in 2024. Potato growers will now be able to try out this solution, which currently generates 80% customer satisfaction (source: xarvio® FIELD MANAGER 2023 survey based on 400 respondents).
Visit the French website: https://www.xarvio.com/fr/fr.html