Copper has been used to combat disease in high-value fruit and vegetable crops since the late 1880s, when the “Bordeaux mixture” of copper sulfate and lime was used in French vineyards to protect grapes from downy mildew. Copper fungicides have evolved over the decades but remain a key disease management tool for producers.
Nufarm announces the launch of ChampION++, a fungicide/bactericide that controls key fungal and other diseases in a wide range of high-value crops, including potatoes. ChampION++ is a new dry formulation of copper that features consistently smaller particles and other unique formulation attributes to provide more thorough coverage—and thus better disease control—with less environmental loading.
The cupric ion (Cu++) is the active part of the molecule, and it works by attacking the bacteria or fungi where it disrupts enzyme processes. Because copper is not systemic and doesn’t redistribute after application, complete coverage of the leaf surface is essential for good disease control. The smaller particle size that ChampION++ provides means more complete coverage, which results in more copper ions available to be absorbed into the plant tissue. This improved absorption, in turn, provides more effective disease control.
ChampION++ has the smallest average particle size of any dry copper formulation. The average particle size of the ChampION++ product is about three to four times smaller than the average particle size of competitive products.
The smaller particle size has another important benefit: It means that producers can apply a significantly lower rate of copper but still get effective disease control. Compared to older copper formulations, researchers are applying about half of rate of copper per acre with ChampION++. But because of the smaller particle size and superior absorption with ChampION++, equivalent or better disease control has been accomplished, even at this much lower rate of copper.