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The high cost of fungicides

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Stressbaby

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I'm planning out my spray schedule for the year. After looking around I found this schedule from the University of Kentucky. Sample spray schedule #1 seems to be most appropriate for hybrids. I have the Mancozeb and Captan. I have the remainder of the stuff in my shopping carts but I haven't pulled the trigger because HOLY COW are they expensive.

ProPhyt $27 on Amazon - not bad
Abound $230/gal on Amazon - found more concentrated versions of azoxystrobin but didn't seem any cheaper
Qunitec $127/30oz on Amazon
Forum - found same ingredient as Stature SC on domyown.com, $199/25oz
Endura - found same ingredient in Emerald on domyown.com, $194/8oz

I'm looking at $800 to stock up for this year's spray schedule.

So my questions are:
1. Is there any part of this spray schedule that looks like overkill?
2. How do you keep these costs down or is this just the price of owning a small vineyard?

I have 1/4 acre, 125 American and hybrid vines.
 

Masbustelo

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Depending on where in the country you are, how much disease pressure you are experiencing,the varieties you have and their resistance... you might want to look into going with various organic sprays after July 1st. This will be my strategy this year. I am not home so I cant list off my arsenal, but there are a number of phosphate based sprays that can be effective if used correctly. You have to rotate sprays, use stickers, spray ahead and after rain etc.
 
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BigH

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It looks like they have given you a solid lineup using fungicides with different modes of action. According to the grape and fruit spray guide, Endura and Quintec are primarily used to target powdery mildew, and can be mixed with mancozeb to give broad protection. Abound by itself can control powdery mildew plus some of the same pests as mancozeb. If cost is an issue, and you don't have a history if powdery mildew problems, then I would buy Abound plus any one of Endura, Quintec, or Rally. That gives you two different modes of action to fight powdery mildew, which might be adequate.

Next year, you might want to mix in one of the remaining three for even more diversity.
 

jgmillr1

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You may want to check with your local CPS branch (or equivalent row crop ag chemical source) to see what chemicals they can order for you. Here in Indiana CPS has a vineyard specialist that can advise and obtain all of those chemicals. The prices probably will be better than you will get on Amazon but you may have to buy more bulk quantities.

For example, on Amazon a 1 gallon jug of Surflan runs about $100 but I got it as a 2.5gal jug from CPS for $162 ($64.80/gal).
 

balatonwine

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So my questions are:
1. Is there any part of this spray schedule that looks like overkill?
2. How do you keep these costs down or is this just the price of owning a small vineyard?

I have 1/4 acre, 125 American and hybrid vines.
A few comments:

First: The first thing to note is the link you provided is for commercial operators. And the recommendations are to completely eliminate any issues across a broad range of diseases for commercial operators, be they a problem that year or not (only because they "might" be). After all, to a commercial operator, who may pick with machines, even a little gray mold brought into the winery would be a problem. But you are picking by hand, and you can just cut out that part of the bunch and toss the rest into the bin going to the crusher. In short, no need to be so "extreme" as commercial producers, as it is simply not cost effective.

Second: There are cheaper chemicals you can use that are not as "perfect" as the ones in guide you suggested, but do just fine, and well enough for the small vineyard for less. One example, the broad spectrum potassium bicarbonat product Armicarb. Applied properly they do pretty well. If they miss something, for example, with botrytis you may have a few berries with gray rot, which really is nothing to worry about, just cut them out and move on at harvest, and if it is just noble rot, you can just use the grapes if you want.

Third: To save money spraying, you need to avoid simply follow a formula. You need to become a bit of a plant pathologist, know when conditions are most likely to cause fungus problems, and spray accordingly and only when necessary. Look up "integrated pest management for grapes" at your favorite search engine. And a good place to start is a guide from Agri-Food Canada (so applies to cold weather grapes): Identification Guide to the Major Diseases of Grapes

Forth: As already mentioned, a lot depends on your local environment. Despite all I wrote above, you may need to spend a lot of money to keep the vines healthy. I would not call that typical, however. Rather just an unfortunate geographical choice for a vineyard placement.

Fifth: I don't use these chemicals listed in the link you provided. If you buy a gallon, how long does that last? How much is needed for 1/4 acre? How long can they stored? Ergo, are you paying $800 for 1 year or 5? (I know others here can answer this, I can not). Knowing that may affect long term cost calculations and budgets.

Finally: What do I have and what it costs me to spray (as one cost perspective). I have all Vinifera (thus no resistance to fungal diseases like some hybrids). Moist cool springs and falls, humid warm to hot summers. All spring, summer and fall averages 1-2 inches of rain a month (except in late July when the amount of rain can double). My vines and grapes would be wiped out from a variety of fungal diseases if I did not spray. I spend about $250 per hectare on fungicides a year. That would be about $25 for a 1/4 hectare. I spray mostly liquid lime sulfur (spring) and copper (spring and summer). Would love to use Armicarb, and other products (because Cu is not ideal), but not "approved" where I live (but are approved everywhere in the USA). Follow the link below to my web site, and you can judge the quality of my vines and grapes, given my spraying style and costs.
 
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JimInNJ

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You say you have American and hybrid vines. You should have generally lower disease susceptibility than if you were growing vinifera. But you will need to be careful about phytotoxicity, as some common products will damage certain native and hybrid varieties.

Find the labels on-line. Print them out and read them carefully before you order. Do the math to figure out how long a container of whatever will last you on 1/4 acre. There are products I would like to use, but the smallest available quantity costs a thousand dollars would last me more that a lifetime.

Copper and sulfur are inexpensive and effective, but might kill your varieties. Do the research.

Mancozeb and Captan are great, and affordable. Watch the PHI on Mancozeb. Ziram is similar to those two, not so effective on Downy Mildew, but works on Black Rot and Phomopsis. It can be handy mid season if you have used up your allowed Mancozeb but still need Black Rot and Phomopsis protection.

Phosphonates like ProPhyt work great on Downy Mildew and are especially useful late in the season due to their short PHI. Be careful with the concentration and volume because they can burn leaves.

Myclobutanil and Tebuconazole are available as generic. They have lost effectiveness against Powdery Mildew in many areas, but are still good for Black Rot.

Sovran is in the same class as Abound but costs less. All Strobilurin fungicides are prone to development of resistance, so do not depend on for protection from Downy Mildew. Some of them cause phytotoxicity on certain native or hybrid varieties, so read the label carefully before you buy.

Pristine is a combination product of a Strobilurin with another fungicide (Boscalid / Endura / Emerald) that adds effectiveness to Powdery Mildew and Botrytis. Good stuff, but very expensive, only available in large container, and causes phytotoxicity on certain varieties. BASF also markets a product called Pageant Intrinsic that has the same proportions of the same active ingredients in a smaller container labeled for use on ornamentals only.

Elevate is effective for Botrytis and available for under $100.
 

shrewsbury

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Let me first say I am no expert. I have gotten some great advice on this site, off site, and have read everything I could about this subject, including the link you provided.

I think $800 is way too much. you should be able to cut that in half and have a carry over for a few seasons with the abound and sovran. (based on a 1/4 acre)

The basic idea is to have the correct product, and use it correctly, which both can be tricky.

The right product can vary by vine and environment, but the super basic idea is to rotate your product between classes.Then you want a product you can apply closer to harvest. You need to know how many applications you can use in a season per product and the time between sprays.
So even the basic requires some planning for short, mid, and long term season goals.

For me it worked out with 4 products.
Sovran
Abound
Immunox
Mancozeb

Immunox and mancozeb allow you to purchase in small amounts, So you can buy 2 bottles of immunox for $24 and it lasts the whole season, but it does cost more per spray than the other 3. The upfront cost is cheaper than sovran and abound and you do not have to store it for the winter, but it is actually more expensive.

The immunox and mancozeb are a 10 day between spray schedule and the abound and sovran are 2 weeks.

Then you have the limit of sprays per product.

sovran, immunox, and mancozeb = 4
abound = 5

so 17 sprays per season, which for me is april-oct

from there it is figuring out the how much water you are using and putting in the right amount of product. Then on the days you want to spray. Mine will be sundays and wednesdays, obviously weather will need to be factored in.
so I can start with immunox on sunday, then 10 days later on wednesday spray mancozeb, then 10 days later on sunday spray abound, then in two weeks on sunday immunox. I rotate sovran in twice and save last 2 sprays for late september and october because of haverst time.

again this is just the super basics based off my situation.

This is just my two cents, based on what I have came up with. I don't mind spending the money but $800 for a 1/4 acre seems very high.
 

JimInNJ

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Why both Sovran and Abound? They are both FRAC class 11 strobilurins, and count as equivalent for rotation purposes.

Does your schedule respect the 66 day Pre Harvest Interval for Mancozeb?
 
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JimInNJ

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I am far from an expert on fungicides or grape growing. My only claim to fame is that I’ve managed to keep sixteen vinifera vines alive in hazy, hot and humid New Jersey for two years, and harvested enough grapes to make a half gallon of wine. In addition to my earlier post, here are some of the things I’ve learned.

If you are growing native or hybrid varieties you are far wiser than I, and some of what I have learned may not apply. Most native and hybrid varieties are less susceptible to various diseases, but can be damaged by common fungicides such as Copper, Sulfur and some Strobilurins.

There are five major grape diseases: Phomopsis, Black Rot, Downey Mildew, Powdery Mildew, and Botrytis. Phomopsis and Black Rot are primarily of concern early in the season, Downey and Powdery throughout the season, and Botrytis starting at bloom. None of the available fungicides are effective on all five of the diseases.

Some of the Strobilurins were broadly effective when they were first released, but in many parts of the country Downey Mildew, Powdery Mildew, and Botrytis have developed resistance. Pristine was effective on all five, but no longer on Downey Mildew in my area. Powdery Mildew is developing resistance to the Sterol Inhibitors (Immunox / Myclobutanil / Tebuconazole), so combine or rotate Sterol Inhibitors with something like Sulfur. Be sure any Integrated Pest Management (IPM) guides you are reading are recent.

When rotating fungicides to prevent development of resistance, it only works if you use a fungicide in a different group. So switching between Abound and Sovran would be of no benefit because they are both Strobilurins. If using a product where a disease is known to be resistant, it must be combined with a product that is known to be effective on that disease. For example, combining Pristine with Captan or Agri-Fos to take care of Downy Mildew.

Our only choice is to use combinations of fungicides to cover all of the diseases. Mancozeb and Sulfur together work well on all of the early season diseases. They are protectants that need to be reapplied every 7-10 days, but this is a period when new growth is appearing so quickly that we need to spray frequently. Captan plus a Sterol Inhibitor (Immunox or Myclobutanil or Tebuconazole) cover the same diseases with a 10-14 day interval. Ziram and Copper could be another combination.

Starting at bloom, depending on your varieties and climate, you may need to include something for Botrytis. Elevate or Switch may be options, typically applied to the fruit zone four times: at bloom, bunch closure, veraison, and pre-harvest.

All fungicides have a Pre Harvest Interval (PHI) that must be observed. Mancozeb’s is 66 days! Sulfur is unwelcome a month or more before harvest due to potentially stinky wine, even though it is labeled for a shorter PHI. Fungicide options decrease as we approach harvest. Phosphonates like Agri-Fos work well on Downy and have a very short PHI.

There are many fungicides and many ways to fit the puzzle pieces together. Some of the exciting new products are not available in appropriate quantities for us little guys. But we really don’t need them.

Many university extension agencies have this information easily available on-line. Fungicide labels are also easily available on-line. You really do need to do your homework and have a plan. It may only take a few rainy days to start an outbreak if you let your guard down.
 

Stressbaby

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Thanks for all the replies.
I have all hybrids, some of which are at least moderately sensitive to sulfur so that's out. My reading agrees with @JimInNJ in that combinations are required for adequate coverage. That's why it doesn't look to me as if I'd be able to get by with just 4 sprays, unless as @balatonwine says I just tolerate some degree of disease and pitch the bad grapes since I'll be picking by hand.
Going to study the replies, reread some labels, do some more research.
 

shrewsbury

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Why both Sovran and Abound? They are both FRAC class 11 strobilurins, and count as equivalent for rotation purposes.

Does your schedule respect the 66 day Pre Harvest Interval for Mancozeb?
You ca only spray each product so often so you need more than one class 11 so my choices were these two products.. Also, as I mentioned, I go down to just sovran when I get closer to harvest time, mancozeb is used early in season along with immunox and abound.
 

JimInNJ

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In my area I'd be nervous relying that heavily on class 11.

How are you covering Downy Mildew and Phomopsis during the 10 days after you spray Immunox?

It might be worthwhile to consider adding Captan to your plan.

I keep Agri-Fos handy on the shelf just in case Downy mildew brakes out, and have needed it every year. I will be including it in the late season rotation this time. I also keep a potassium bicarbonate product (GreenCure) handy in case Powdery Mildew breaks out, but haven't needed it yet.
 
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shrewsbury

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Thanks for the advice. I was told that if I was using mancozeb and immunox to skip the captan, but you think I should add it back in?
 

JimInNJ

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Mancozeb and Captan are similar, but from different FRAC groups (M3 vs M4) both of which are very low risk for resistance development. They both control Phomopsis and Downy Mildew. Mancozeb also controls Black Rot but has a long PHI. Captan does not control Black Rot, but suppresses some bunch rots and is allowed up to harvest. Neither work on Powdery Mildew, so mix with something that does.

Depending on the brand I think the labels vary a little regarding how many applications per season are allowed. Typically one would use Mancozeb early in the season until running out of allowed applications or running up against the PHI, then switch to Captan. Used that way you get quite a few applications.

I add Sulfur to Mancozeb to take care of Powdery Mildew, and I add Immunox (which covers Powdery and Black Rot) to Captan. When I use a strobilurin I add Captan or Agri-Fos for protection from strobilurin resistant Downy Mildew.
 
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treesaver

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This is all very interesting! I have been growing native and hybrids for about fifteen years. Our summers in Ks are hot and sometimes very humid, but we have lots of wind and I live next to a cell tower, if that tells you anything! I have never used any sprays on my grapes, have real decent harvests, and the only things I seem to fight are the birds, critters and hail! I have just started with a new cultivar last spring, verona, one of Tom Plotchers varietys, and hope I can keep doing as I have in the past! I have way over a hundred vines now, and sure don't need the headaches!
 

JimInNJ

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I have never used any sprays on my grapes, have real decent harvests, and the only things I seem to fight are the birds, critters and hail!
For me, growing vinifera in NJ's Outer Coastal Plain AVA is what @balatonwine might call "an unfortunate geographical choice for a vineyard placement.". It can be done well, but perhaps not economically.
 
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Stressbaby

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This is all very interesting! I have been growing native and hybrids for about fifteen years. Our summers in Ks are hot and sometimes very humid, but we have lots of wind and I live next to a cell tower, if that tells you anything! I have never used any sprays on my grapes, have real decent harvests, and the only things I seem to fight are the birds, critters and hail! I have just started with a new cultivar last spring, verona, one of Tom Plotchers varietys, and hope I can keep doing as I have in the past! I have way over a hundred vines now, and sure don't need the headaches!
I'm in Missouri, likely similar climate to yours. My vines are at the top of a hill with wide expanses of pasture to south and west - very windy. Interested in what grape varieties you grow which don't require spraying.

Around here, Norton is really the only grape I've heard people say they may not have to spray.
 

treesaver

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Stressbaby, My grapes are norton, concord, cataba, frontenac and my newest one is verona. So far, so good on everything, but I'm kinda wondering how it will go with the verona. My first verona was planted last spring, and I'm gonna add 15 more this spring to finish filling out my space I had left. I really hope I can get by without getting into a spray routine!
 

BigH

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You ca only spray each product so often so you need more than one class 11 so my choices were these two products.. Also, as I mentioned, I go down to just sovran when I get closer to harvest time, mancozeb is used early in season along with immunox and abound.
Note this comment from the midwest fruit spray guide

Downy Mildew Resistance to Strobilurin Fungicides:
Do not apply more than two sequential sprays of Abound, Sovran, Flint, or Pristine before alternating with a fungicide that has a different mode of action. For wine and table grapes, do not make more than four applications of a strobilurin fungicide per acre per year.
There is a similar paragraph regarding powdery mildew. IMO, you could ditch Sovran or reduce how often you put it into the mix.

Note that Ziram is a good replacement for mancozeb when you get within 66 days of harvest.

H
 
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