Guido Artavia: Miller Chemical and Fertilizer, LLC Regional Agronomist for Latin America, Caribbean, Philippines

Black Sigatoka (Mycosphaerella fijensis) is a disease that primarily affects bananas and originated in the Fiji Islands in 1963. Currently, it is found scattered throughout Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Colombia.

The disease is disseminated through two types of spores: ascospores and conidia. Both are capable of infecting the crop and will produce the same symptoms.

In many cases, the foliage can diminish up to 80%, causing repercussions on the ripening of the bunches, which are lost due to ethylene release. To be exported, the harvest leaf count must be at least six.

Worldwide Commercial Control

Around the world, this disease is commonly controlled by alternating the use of systemic control options in oil with protectants and resins as well as the use of protectants and oil.

Negative effects of using oil-based treatment options can include the reduction of banana bunch weight, productivity, phytotoxicity and reduction of photosynthetic. The costs of treatment can represent between 15% and 25% of the crop’s total operating costs in commercial production programs. Reductions of these costs has been seen in many cases when utilizing the Miller treatment program.

Miller Supplemental Treatment Options for Black Sigatoka

This treatment option began in 1996 in Bronco Bananas with the use of Mancozeb 80 WP plus Nu-Film® 17. The control program was enhanced in 2003 in the plots of the San Juanito Group with the introduction of other agronomical practices, such as weekly monitoring of diseases and foliar emission calculation as well as the calibration and adjustment of fumigation equipment and the introduction of GPS and flow regulation equipment.

The addition of Nu-Film® 17, improves deposition consistency of the pesticide, minimizes wash off from rain, and provides a thin protective film to further protect agrochemical application once on the leaf surface. By improving deposition and retention of pesticide treatments, control of Sigatoka has been shown to be improved.

As part of the program, it is important to:

  • calculate foliar emission to determine the interval of the application cycle
  • check applications regarding climate conditions and foliage coverage after fumigation
  • monitor the number of drops per cm2
  • aim for an average of 70 drops/cm2 and size of 250 microns.

For additional questions and inquiries, utilize our Find a Sales Rep feature and contact your local Miller Representative.

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