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Hicure strengthens ITM programmes

Hicure strengthens ITM programmes: Biostimulants offer an exciting chance to strengthen the role of Integrated Turf Management (ITM) in producing consistently high-quality playing surfaces.

Speaking at the launch of Hicure, the first biostimulant for turf from Syngenta, Professional Solutions Business Manager Daniel Lightfoot, reiterated cultural controls have always been, and remain, the primary mainstay of good practice for greenkeepers.

Hicure strengthens ITM programmes

Hicure strengthens ITM programmes

“But whilst in the past they might have reached for a chemical solution as the next option, there are now real advances in monitoring and modelling of issues and the potential for biological solutions that are increasingly effective steps in the ITM process.”

He emphasised that chemicals remain a key part of greenkeepers’ armoury, with Syngenta’s commitment to continue to develop and extend new options, such as the introduction of Ascernity in the UK and Ireland earlier this year.

“However, we see that biologicals and biostimulants such as Hicure can genuinely complement and support existing technologies, particularly against a backdrop of challenging regulatory legislation” advocated Daniel.

“It is an area of real focus and huge investment. We’ve committed the same rigorous R&D approach to Hicure and future biostimulant developments as a new chemical product.

“That means we can support what is said with data and experience, and that turf managers can be confident it is fully tried and tested.”

Hicure strengthens ITM programmes

Hicure strengthens ITM programmes

Digital support

Daniel Lightfoot believes that biostimulants can be better incorporated into ITM programmes with the support of innovative digital tools to aid monitoring and modelling of potential problems.

Tools such as Disease Forecasting, Growing Degree Day Calculator and historic weather and disease records, all available on the GreenCast website, build a picture of where and when actions can be proactively targeted to best effect.

Digital tools of the near future will look to predict precisely where efforts can be targeted, before the problems occur, he predicted.

“When you combine digital precision, with innovative biostimulant technology and proven chemical solutions, the top of the ITM pyramid takes the next step to producing the consistently better playing surfaces demanded by greenkeepers and players.”

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Hicure launch sees biostimulants building

Hicure launch sees biostimulants building: Hicure is set to be a key building block of future turf agronomy programmes, according to Syngenta Technical Manager, Glenn Kirby.

Speaking at the Hicure on-line launch event, he said: “The potential of biostimulants is immense. Some of the things we’ve seen during glasshouse research – by way of turf rooting, drought tolerance, colour and recovery, for example – have been really impressive.

Hicure launch sees biostimulants building

Hicure launch sees biostimulants building

“In practice differences are more subtle, but get things right and fine-tune the timings, then you could see some big differences,” he reported. “We’re beginning to unlock the potential through really deep research.”

Glenn highlighted over five years research with Hicure has given valuable insights into the product and how to use it to best effect. Key to its success is not just its high level of amino acids, but the fact that a high proportion is immediately available to turf plants to counter stress effects.

“Amino acids are like building blocks that the plant can use to build the structures it requires. It does that by joining individual amino acids into peptides, and then linking multiple peptides together into ever longer complex chains used to create specific proteins.

Hicure contains 10% of raw amino acids, along with 53% as short chain peptides that can be absorbed through the leaf and rapidly utilised by plants.

“Unlike other amino acid sources, Hicure contains 18 individual types of amino acids that are of most use to plants to build the proteins required to stop stress effects.” All amino acids contain a nitrogen molecule, which is a crucial element as an organic N source to provide plant cells with energy to build proteins – particularly when stress adversely affects photosynthetic capability.

Most other amino acid biostimulants are predominantly made up of long-chain peptides, which are typically slow to be utilised and as the need to be broken down by the soil before they can be absorbed by the plant.

“Understanding the function of amino acids and how they are used in the plant’s physiology is crucial in targeting and timing their use.

“With Hicure, we’ve seen real benefits building from targeting foliar applications close to the onset of stress periods for rapid uptake into the plant,” he advised.

With an application rate of 20 l/ha per month over the summer period, that may be split into two, three or even four treatments, in combination with a Primo Maxx II PGR or foliar nutrition programme, for example, he cited. Excellent results had also been seen in tank mix with fungicides.

“With a wide range of stresses in the summer months, including the onset of drought, light and heat a programmed approach is effective to give turf coverage over a prolonged period of potential stress events,” he advocated. “But we are also doing more research and trials into forecasting stress effects and the fine tuning of Hicure timing to optimise applications.”

That includes countering a wide range of abiotic stress effects where plants can build specific protein responses. Whilst there is no direct effect of Hicure on disease pathogens that cause biotic stress, trials have shown that alleviating turf plants’ abiotic stress factors can help put the turf plant in a better position to tolerate biotic stresses, including impacts of anthracnose and microdochium patch.

“Building Hicure into the agronomy programme can add up to make incremental gains with all the products’ applications,” he added. “That’s ever more important to cope with increasing climatic and management stresses imposed on turf every season.”

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Hicure biostimulant to build energy and protect turf

Hicure biostimulant to build energy and protect turf: The first turf biostimulant from Syngenta heralds the potential for a step change in stress management, along with performance enhancement for existing and future turf management programmes.

New Hicure has been developed to deliver the key protein-building amino acids crucial to build and protect plants from stress effects, along with recovery of playing surface quality faster and more effectively.

Hicure biostimulant to build energy and protect turf

Hicure biostimulant to build energy and protect turf

More than six years of science research and investigative trials has developed the unique formulation of 18 amino acids in Hicure, along with an instantly available energy source for turf to make most effective use.

Syngenta Technical Manager, Glenn Kirby, highlighted amino acids are the building blocks for proteins that make up all plant structures – each with a different construction. “New research into the molecular activity of plant cells has sought to identify which amino acids are required for key functions.

“That’s given a valuable insight into which amino acids can be effectively supplemented to better prepare plants for stressful periods.

“Whilst turf plants can produce their own amino acids during good growing conditions, where they need to adapt to stressful periods it can lead to an imbalance in the availability of the necessary amino acids.

“Hicure can provide a readily accessible source of the important amino acids to give greater tolerance to stress and see turf through,” he added.

Furthermore, Glenn pointed out that the repurposing of amino acids within the plant during stress periods requires large amounts of energy – which can be particularly challenging where turf is under stress and with reduced photosynthetic capability. “Hicure has been formulated with an instantly available energy source, in the form of specific amiono acids. Supplementing energy enables the plant to make better use of resources for faster recovery.

“Together, Hicure is a perfect balance of amino acids and energy to help plants strengthen cell walls and protect against stress.”

Trials results in the UK and across Europe have shown improved tolerance to a wide range of stresses. Under summer heat conditions, for example, fortnightly applications of Hicure had halved the incidence of leaf damage, compared to untreated.

Improvements in turf quality, coverage and consistency had also been seen in Hicure trials against a wider range of stresses and even herbicide treatments.

“With the incidence of environmental stresses becoming more frequent and more severe in nature with climate change the role of Hicure is expected to become even greater in future turf management programmes,” Glenn advised.

Optimum results have been seen with fortnightly applications of Hicure at a rate of 10 l/ha, or monthly 20l/ha during spring and summer periods. That can typically be incorporated into foliar nutrition and Primo Maxx PGR timings for ease of application, he advocated.

In late summer and autumn rates can be reduced to 5l/ha every two weeks or 10l/ha per month.  This helps deliver stronger and stress free turf going into the winter period.  Stronger more healthy turf is better able to tolerant disease attack and also recovers more quickly.

Daniel Lightfoot, Syngenta Turf Business Manager, emphasised that R&D had clearly shown that not all biostimulants work as effectively as others, or offer the significant benefits that could be achieved. “We continue to exhaustively test a large number of biostimulant products, and have only selected a small number that have shown the potential to offer effective results.

“Understanding the science of how the product works is essential to advise where it can fit into an agronomic programme,” he advocated. “Turf managers can be confident that any biostimulant from Syngenta has been thoroughly researched and will deliver the benefits they are looking for.”

The focus of Syngenta research is increasingly on enhancing overall plant health, together with the integration of agronomic practices and digital support tools, alongside the intervention of plant protection products where required.

The company’s recent acquisition of Valagro, one of the world’s leading biostimulant and biopesticide businesses, signals a commitment to creating a whole programme approach to plant health.

“As we develop and bring to market innovative fungicides over the coming years, we have the research to understand and recommend how they can be best used in conjunction with Hicure and other inputs to get the best results.”

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