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New miticide extends protection at Doomben Racecourse

Doomben Racetrack

A new miticide option has demonstrated extended protection against couch mite attack in a trial conducted at Doomben Racecourse in Brisbane, Queensland.

Doomben Racecourse Manager, Jim Roberts, said couch mites had been an issue on the track over a number of years and were treated as part of a preventative program.

“The challenges are typical with turf, you are always going to get pests and diseases, especially through summertime when you have got high humidity and insect damage. We spray our tracks quite regularly, at least once a month during the growing months, through summer, with fungicides and we use insecticides.”

He said historically the miticide, abamectin was applied to the course at a rate of one litre per hectare and has generally performed quite well and if he used it on a regular basis, as part of his maintenance program, he disn't seem to have too many problems.He did say that there were concerns in the industry about products potentially losing their effectiveness and the need to look at new options.

“Do pests build up resistance to some of the products we use? I can’t give an answer whether they do or don’t, I suppose they would after a time. That’s why chemical companies are always trying to come up with something different. I guess in this case, that’s where we are heading.”

A decision was made to trial HIGRAN Turf Miticide from Syngenta at the Doomben track.

“It was a few months ago that I actually trialled it, I put out abamectin first and then ten days later, I applied HIGRAN. I seemed to get a good result out of HIGRAN, and it was six to eight weeks before I needed to spray for mites again”.

This mirrors experience from other turf management sectors, where a programmed approach has given six solid weeks of control, reducing the number of sprays required for the same period, while responsibly swapping chemical classes and thus modes of action, reducing the chance of resistance build-up.

“I just carried on with my normal management program but in those six to eight weeks that I didn’t use abamectin, I didn’t seem to have too many problems. So I got a good result and that is why I am going to use it again.”

Mr Roberts said it fitted particularly well into their maintenance program because the extended residual meant they could concentrate on other issues they had in maintaining the course.

“If you can just push that one for six to eight weeks – that’s great. That’s a good part of your maintenance program. Hopefully going forward, that’s how we can do it.”

Maintenance is vitally important on the track to keep it in top class condition and the addition of a miticide helps with this objective.

“If I didn’t treat them, the grass looks poor, you get a rosette head on the turf and it just doesn’t look right. You know there’s a problem. That’s why we treat them. I do preventative maintenance to the track and that’s part of my maintenance program, spraying for mites.”

Another product used at Doomben is ACELEPRYN Turf Insecticide for lawn grubs.

“I love it. It is a great product. You know it just takes that worry away. Going back many years, you always had a problem with lawn grubs. I remember being out on this track and doing two or three applications in a week, to try and knock them on the head. Since ACELEPRYN has come on the scene, I put it out twice a year, once in September at 1.5 L/ha and again at 750 mL/ha in January and since I have been doing that, probably for the last five or six years, I’ve never had an issue. It’s absolutely fantastic. Good stuff.”

Mr Roberts also has Syngenta SpraySure XC Nozzles fitted to their Toro spray unit and has had good success with these nozzles.

“In the past we had a few issues with our spray nozzles, because they weren’t spraying properly, so we replaced them with the new Syngenta spray nozzles and since then it has been great. We’ve had no issues. At least now when you spray your product out, you are getting one hundred per cent coverage, whereas before, I didn’t know where it was going.”