Leaf diseases cause major yield losses in winter wheat every year across Europe. Septoria leaf blotch – STB (Zymoseptoria tritici) is the most serious leaf disease in Northern Europe, but also yellow rust (Puccinia striiformis) and brown rust (Puccinia triticina) are known to cause major problems in some regions and seasons. Problems with fungicide resistance in the populations of Z. tritici have caused concerns for future control options. With the aim of investigating the differences in azole performances against STB, yellow rust and brown rust, 40 field trials were carried out during two seasons (2015 and 2016) in 10 different countries across Europe covering a diversity of climatic zones and agricultural practices. Four single triazoles (epoxiconazole, prothioconazole, tebuconazole and metconazole) and two mixtures of azoles (epoxiconazole + metconazole; prothioconazole + tebuconazole) were tested at full and half rates. Regarding control of yellow rust and brown rust similar control patterns were seen across Europe and solutions with epoxiconazole and tebuconazole provided between 80 and 100% control. In contrast lower levels of control and major variations in azole performances against STB were seen across Europe, with the better of the azoles varying significantly across the continent. Similarly, the CYP51 mutation frequencies varied greatly across Europe with a clear pattern of decreasing frequencies from west to east of all investigated mutations except I381V and A379G. Azoles were most effective against STB when used as mixtures of epoxiconazole + metconazole or prothioconazole + tebuconazole. This was especially clear in the western part of Europe with high frequencies of CYP51 mutations D134G, V136C and S524T. Effectiveness of all single azoles decreased from 2015 to 2016 except for tebuconazole and azole mixtures, with the latter showing an increased advantage. EC50 values for Z.tritici from the trial sites measured for the four azoles involved could to some extent support the control levels measured at the sites. Across all trials full rates of azole mixtures were best at increasing yields by up to 20%. Single azoles increased yields between 14 and 18%. Yellow rust gave rise to the highest yield increases.
- CYP51 mutations
- Zymoseptoria tritici