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FRAG-UK (Fungicide Resistance Action Group – Uk) – A Review of the Context, Work and Aims of this UK Resistance Action Group

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UK growers and crop protection practitioners have lived with fungicide resistance issues almost since the introduction of at risk fungicides to the UK market 40 years ago. Many actives have come and gone in this time and practices in crops have also altered in terms of fungicide application timings, dosages and mixture strategies. FRAG-UK was established in response to these early resistance issues in order to bring together the collective experience of researchers, practitioners and industry in an independent forum concentrating on issues affecting the UK. Grower attitudes to fungicide resistance have changed over the years, but it remains a challenge to promote resistance management strategies in a market that would put immediate crop yield and profit above product stewardship. Inevitably attitudes to fungicide resistance differ to those where herbicide resistance in involved, where there is a better perception that if you create a resistance problem then it remains with you on farm as an issue for you as an individual to manage. Diseases, being more widely spread and distributed, require a more 'collective good' approach and there is less incentive for the individual to act and to apply management strategies that may not add immediately to the profit margins from an in-season disease management programme – particularly if others continue to use fungicides in a 'for immediate profit' manner. The introduction of voluntary guidelines for the use of strobilurins on cereals provides a good example of this. On their introduction to the market in 1996, strobilurins could be applied three times to cereal crops, but with the occurrence of resistance, first in barley and then in wheat mildew, there was a dawning recognition of the risks involved and guidelines were drawn up by FRAC (Fungicide Resistance Action Committee) advising a maximum of two applications and always in mixture with other products. These were endorsed by FRAG-UK and widely communicated, but were largely ignored by the farming industry as, at the time, a reduction in strobilurin use from three to two applications would mean a significant loss of yield. It was only when these recommendations became label requirements and therefore legally binding that practices changed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-04-01

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