By Dr. Jeff Hoy, LSU AgCenter
Unfortunately, rust is turning out to be a problem after all. The main target for protection is HoCP 96-540 plant cane on good land. There are fewer fields of this type, so I hope spraying will be a feasible option. Protecting the yield potential of what should be some of the highest yielding cane makes sense. Spraying now means probably going with two applications. This should still be economical, particularly when at least the first application can be banded.
Rescue missions applying fungicide to already very rusty cane will provide less benefit, but it will still be worthwhile to protect the fields going into May. Unfortunately, there have been multiple reports of rust already building up in L 01-283. In previous seasons, rust in this variety has exhibited an atypical late start and persistence into the hot weather period. As rust adapts to a variety it usually becomes more aggressive. I am not sure what to expect for this variety, so all observations are needed and will be helpful. The weather forecast continues to be favorable for rust.
Please see the website link for best management practices for brown rust for more information.
The best fungicide options are Priaxor at 5 oz/acre (broadcast rate), Headline at 9 oz/acre, and Quilt Xcel at 18-20 oz/acre. All will provide good control at those rates. Priaxor is the newest product, and we had good reports on its performance last season (and this is the product of choice in Florida). BASF is pushing a shift to Priaxor over Headline with price and availability. So, growers can choose based on price calculated with the preferred rates listed above.
Please let me have your observations about the rust situation and fungicide performance.