Mycogone or wet bubble is making its appearance again on many farms. Growers are looking for all different chemical solutions and are gearing up hygiene measures. Most of the times too late. Because chemicals also do a lot of damage to the crop and the schedule often is simply too short to give the right effect.
And as for gearing up hygienic measures, one real big grower once said to me:
If I have no disease I am really worried because nobody is paying attention anymore to hygiene. If on the other hand I dó have a disease everyone is doing what the can.
For Mycogone it is important to look at the origin and take that away. It is a fungus growing in soil, sand or rotting materials. That is why many growers point at the casing soil. Not really correct because it does not grow in deep dug peat because the ph is too low. But casing soil polluted with sand will be infected so it is better to look at transport, the act of casing the room and the circumstances around that.
The spores of Mycogone are not airborne by themselves. The need a vector of taxi. In most of the cases this is dust, animals, people or insects. Especially dust is a factor that is hard to control.
The moving of soil in the vicinity of the room that you are filling is a guarantee for infection. So is the harvesting of agricultural crops near the farm if the wind is blowing the dust to your farm.
So keeping the room that you are filling and the casing soil out of the wind to avoid dust is already a good thing. So is cleaning of the trucks before they enter the filling area. And flushing with plenty of water may be more effective than using a disinfectant.
At the same time keep the whole area wet so dust cannot fly around.
For growers who use casing soil in plastic bags, do not bring them into the room or wash them before use. Plastic is electro static and attracts dust.
It is a myth by the way that Mycogone comes in with the compost. It cannot grow in phase 3 compost.
The following point is people. If the filling team walks through grass or sand during filling, again that is a major failure. So is not wearing clean clothes at the moment of filing. Also do not let the filing team have their coffee break in the same canteen used by the pickers. When they return to the job they may be covered in spores.
A thing harder to control is insects. If you have an infection of sciarids or phorids on the farm an outbreak of bubble is likely to happen. But one of the next blogs will be about these creatures.
One general remark: keep the farm and the vicinity clean at all times. Free from rests of casing and compost but also free from paper, cardboard and other mess. This will help to fight all types of disease.