Grapegrowers are finding it difficult to get hold of Downy Mildew products this season. Derek Cameron reports there are two reasons for this;
"One, the wet broadacre season, particularly in the eastern states, has seen Downy protectants soaked up by the Lentil, Bean, Chickpea market, an example is they created a permit for Captan for Lentils after all other products were sold out, and this saw all of SA’s forecast for Captan go east in a week (even though I had ordered mine in February). More supplies of this are coming, but probably too late.
Two, the amount above does not explain the shortage of Sulphur. It is likely that the GFC has seen suppliers focus strongly on reducing stored stock. The financial position of NuFarm (which is also CropCare) the two major suppliers of Sulphur (CropCare make Top Wettable, Kumulus, Notion etc.) has also not helped. Nufarm has been tightening its belt in response to its profit bottom line."
This shortage has lead to a potentially dangerous situation as a Downy Mildew outbreak is occurring in the Riverland and Mildura regions of South Eastern Australia. It it likely to become necessary to lobby the industry and specifically wine companies purchasing the fruit this season to allow the use of Phos. Acid as an eradicant Downy Mildew measure.
Derek also thinks that other products can be used when under Downy Mildew pressure;
"I would consider Flint/Cabrio similar to Copper/Mancozeb/Captan/Chlorothalonil as a protectant against Downy. The extra advantage of Flint/Cabrio over the others is they have the ability to redistribute with moisture which helps with expanding bunches. They are strongly bound to green tissue which also helps bunches."