Profile - Precision Brown Rot Management

profile_markClemson University scientists developed an agar-based assay to determine location-specific fungicide resistance profiles in Monilinia fructicola. It determines the sensitivity of local Monilinia populations to the four most commonly used fungicide classes (DMIs, BZIs, SDHIs and QoIs). Results are communicated with grower and county agents. The service helps growers to identify problem components in their spray program and improves preharvest and postharvest losses to disease. In addition, ‘Profile’ counteracts selection of pathogen populations for fungicide resistance, making disease management and the entire operation more sustainable for the future.

Impact. The ‘Profile’ resistance monitoring program has been used in since 2008 and almost all large-acreage producers from GA and SC are participating. It is hard to quantify the success of this program, but here are some educated guesses for the impact in 2009: In Georgia, I would estimate a minimum of $6 million in savings to producers as a result of crop value recovered (minimal brown rot) in 2009, but the amount may be closer to $10 million.  I would estimate that roughly 25% of the peach crop would be in danger of having brown rot with resistance to DMI fungicides, based on the 2009 survey.  In a wet year (2009), and when we use the correct fungicide, we prevent between 50-75% of the losses to brown rot, based on losses where resistance has been observed in research blocks.  The total farm gate value of the crop was ~$50 million, so the savings of $6-10 million is probably accurate for Georgia.  In a very dry year, such as 2008, the losses would have been much less dramatic.  We do not save money on fungicides, as we usually spray more expensive materials when resistance is observed (Dr. Phil Brannen, UGA).

The situation in South Carolina is similar. Fungicide resistance is present in the main production areas. In 2009 we anticipated an epidemic from brown rot but it did not happen, likely because we identified high risk areas with the Profile kit and growers implemented crucial changes to their spray program, such as higher doses of fungicides or switching to a mode of action that works better. I would estimate that we would have lost about 10%-15% of our total production (includes pre and postharvest losses) if the Profile monitoring program had not been used. We total about $70 million annually, so the savings would be anywhere from $7 to $10.5 million (Dr. Guido Schnabel, Clemson University).

The service has since been applied to samples from Maryland and Pennsylvania. 

Profile - An Agents Perspective: "The profile kit was very easy to use and provided a timely response to suspected resistance problems.  Problems were easily identified by viewing the petri dishes.  This past year we did have some trouble finding enough fruit to have an accurate sample.  Bacterial contamination is a definite possibility if you are not careful in your procedure.   Whatever you do, don't forget to check it on time.  Some of the contaminants grow very quickly and can cloud results if not viewed when they are supposed to be.   All in all the system works but will take up some of your time getting used to the procedure." -Andy Rollins, County Agent, Piedmont SC.