David Drake, an Extension agronomist who came on board at the San Angelo Research and Extension Center last year, says yield results from 2009 tests indicate as much as a 500-pound per acre yield advantage in flutriafol treated plots.Although the best results came from high rates, lower rates similar to labeled rates on other crops also reduced disease and gave a yield increase.

In 2010 trials, the research emphasis was on evaluating lower rates with different application methods and in different production areas of Texas. Results from these trials in the San Angelo area and other areas of Texas were mostly encouraging. The data will be used to support a label for this fungicide on cotton further down the road.

A key sticking point to getting an EPA label may be residual activity. The product appears to persist in the soil from one year to the next. Plots treated one year in Wilde’s field and untreated the next continue to show good control.  However, persistence of a chemical in soil is not a good characteristic in the eyes of the EPA.

Drake says that flutriafol is a “pretty stable product,” and stays where it’s applied. Leaching potential is uncertain. “It does not appear that the product moves, but we’re still looking. We need to determine the best rate, have the residue work done, and then get a label.”

This year has been a bad one for root rot throughout the Rolling Plains. “Throughout the Rolling Plains and into the Blacklands, we’ve seen perhaps a 20 percent crop loss from root rot,” Drake says. “Heavy July rainfall seemed to encourage it.”