A new way to spray using SwiftDetect rapid test

23 March 2022

The reliance on visual observations to know if disease is present in crops has led to a significant challenge for farmers and agronomists alike. Infections from Septoria to Ramularia have long latent periods, so by the time visible signs emerge, consequences such as reductions to quality and yield may already have occurred.

Even when visible signs are present, knowing the extent of disease is another issue. Some infections such as Mildew, with its clumps of powdery spores, are often less severe than they look. For other diseases, the infection may be worse than visible signs would suggest.

This is where SwiftDetect can help. A rapid test for wheat and barley disease, SwiftDetect uses a unique method to test down to just a few pathogen cells. With results in 1 business day, users can expect almost a real-time snapshot into the level of disease in their crop.

As one of our customers puts it, we put “science and real data to something that is usually empirical”. The result: you get an early warning of disease so can take a proactive approach, but also can transform the way you spray. Here’s how.

What to spray

Given the enormous impact disease can have, when growers are unsure about the level of infection, more robust treatments may be used as a preventative measure – even if levels could be low. Using SwiftDetect, you can wave goodbye to these blanket sprays and be more selective as to when stronger treatments need to be used.

The insight from SwiftDetect can inform decision making, helping you to tailor your fungicide treatment according to disease levels. This could mean using a multisite or preventative fungicide rather than curative if your levels are lower than you expect, or a lower dose. This reduces waste, saves cost and protects the environment, at no compromise to yield. Alternatively, the level of infection could be more severe than expected; in this instance, you’re armed with the data to act accordingly.

When to spray

One of the keys to effective treatment of crop disease is spray timings. Traditionally, timings are influenced by crop growth stage. Using Septoria in wheat as an example, timings are as follows:

  • T0 – leaf 4 – GS30
  • T1 – Leaf 3 – GS31-32
  • T2 – Leaf 1 (flag leaf) – GS39
  • T3 – ear – GS61-65

Spraying at the right time is vital, especially as diseases continue to become harder to treat with the removal of key fungicides and higher incidences of resistance. Even being a couple of days late therefore can have a huge impact on disease levels.

A more effective way to determine spray timing would be spraying according to what the disease loading is in the crop. This more targeted approach would result in a more effective treatment. With the rapid turnaround of SwiftDetect, you can act fast.

How SwiftDetect works

Using SwiftDetect is simple. Just order online, post a sample of 10 leaves to us for testing and we’ll email your results within 1 business day. We can test for: 

  • Septoria in wheat
  • Yellow Rust in wheat
  • Brown Rust in wheat
  • Mildew in wheat
  • Ramularia in barley

The test costs just £70 and has saved some of our customers thousands – one of them even wrote an article about saving £4,000.

If you want to learn more about how SwiftDetect can help you in the management and control of crop disease, click here to view our webinar. Alternatively, if you want to give SwiftDetect a go, click here to order now.