Proline cleared for use in lowbush blueberries

Lowbush (wild) blueberry growers have picked up approval for minor use of a well-known fungicide against two leaf diseases.

Bayer CropScience Canada on Friday announced its prothioconazole (Group 3) fungicide Proline is registered for use in lowbush blueberries for suppression of blueberry rust and septoria leaf spot.

Both diseases typically occur mid-season during the crop’s vegetative year, causing early leaf drop and depleting the plant’s reserves for developing floral buds for the next season’s crops, the company said.

“In the last 10 years, we’ve seen an increase in these two leaf diseases that cause the bulk of damage to wild blueberry crops,” David Percival, wild blueberry research chair at Nova Scotia Agricultural College, said in Bayer’s release.

“The registration of Proline has really improved the growth and development of wild blueberry crops, and growers are seeing more consistent and increased yields,” Percival said, citing his trial work with Proline in the Maritime provinces since 2008.

Most of Canada’s lowbush blueberry production is found in Quebec, followed by Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Canadian growers harvested about 287,000 tonnes of the berries in 2006.

The new registration comes through the User-Requested Minor Use Label Expansion program, Calgary-based Bayer said, citing its own efforts and those of growers, researchers, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Pest Management Centre and Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency.

User-requested minor-use registrations have previously been granted for Proline for control of sclerotinia stem rot in flax, borage and crambe, and control of cercospora leaf spot and rhizoctonia crown rot in sugar beets.

Proline is also registered for use against various diseases in canola, wheat, barley, lentil, Oriental mustard, corn, soybean and chickpea crops.

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