Kentucky tobacco producers are facing a national shortage of a product they normally use to combat diseases such as blue mold in their float systems and fields. In response, Kentucky has received a special, local-need registration, or 24(c), to use another product.

Approved by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the new 24(c) label allows farmers to use Manzate Pro-Stick fungicide on tobacco. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approval is pending, said Kenny Seebold, a plant pathologist with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.

The 24(c) immediately takes effect, meaning that producers may use Manzate throughout the 2008 growing season.

“There’s a nationwide shortage of Dithane DF, which we recommend to producers to manage diseases like blue mold in the float system and field, and Manzate will help fill the gap,” he said.

Producers can substitute Manzate for all recommended uses of Dithane DF on tobacco, and the use rates are identical. In the float system, use 0.5 pounds of product per 100 gallons of spray (1 level teaspoon per gallon) on transplants that are dime-sized or bigger.

Field rates are: 1.5 to two pounds of product per acre. Farm chemical distributors are aware of the Manzate 24(c), and some have Manzate in stock at United Agri Products. Growers should contact their local farm supply store to determine availability of the product in their area, Seebold said.

“The labeling of Manzate on tobacco has come at a good time,” he said. “Weather still continues to favor diseases like target spot in the float system, and blue mold is currently present down south and could affect tobacco in Kentucky later this spring.”

Producers should check plants regularly and consider a regular mancozeb (Dithane or Manzate) spray schedule to protect transplants.