RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. -- In 2006, thousands of growers across the country made the decision to protect their crops from disease and enhance overall production with Headline(R) fungicide. In more than 1000 on-farm corn trials and 750 on-farm soybean trials, Headline produced consistently higher yields, positive returns on investment and even shattered world records.

"The 2006 results are in, and they show how Headline helps growers maximize their output per acre," said Gary Fellows, Technical Marketing Manager for corn and soybean fungicides and herbicides at BASF. "The average yield advantage of Headline-treated corn ranged from 12 to 15 bu/A, while Headline-treated soybeans trials showed a 4 to 8 bu/A advantage in 2006."

Fellows and his team have been crunching the comparative yield numbers for the 1750 on-farm trials since harvest results started coming in.

The yield advantage confirmed by the 2006 Headline on-farm trials is significant as demand for U.S. corn continues to grow, fuelled by ethanol production, domestic livestock feed use and exports, Fellows said.

In fact, University of Illinois Extension economist Darrel Good recently noted that with demand for U.S. corn accelerating, "there is a need to encourage a large increase in U.S. corn acreage in 2007."

But, Good added, "We won't be able to meet rising demand with increased acres alone. It's also important for average yields to continue to increase on a long-term trend of at least 2 bu/A per year, and perhaps to accelerate beyond 2 bu/A per year if we are to meet expected demand."

The industry continues to look ahead to a number of promising technologies to help boost production output on existing acreage. Headline(R) fungicide is one such technology that is proving it can increase the output per acre, BASF said.

This year, Headline helped Kip Cullers of Purdy, Mo., break the world record for bushel-per-acre yield on soybeans. Cullers harvested his world record soybean crop after treating his plants with aerial applications of Headline.

Cullers produced soybeans yielding an average of about 120 pods per plant and more than 139 bu/A, by far the highest yield average of soybeans ever recorded by the USDA.

"Every bloom on a soybean plant is a potential pod," said Cullers. "You don't want any disease pressure out there and no stress. That's the most important thing in maximizing yield." Cullers, who regularly competes in the state and national yield contests, notes, "We use Headline in all of our competition corn and soybeans. It's the best fungicide with the most research and data backing it up."

"Increasing yields and finding ways to increase the overall production of corn and soybeans is increasingly valuable to growers and our economy," said Fellows. "This year, results once again prove that using Headline is an essential part of any program and helps growers to get the most out of what they put in the ground."

The key behind the success of Headline lies in its excellent disease control, the most important contributor to Plant Health(TM). Corn treated with Headline showed stalk strength resulting in less lodging and fewer dropped ears, which meant a faster and easier harvest. Additionally, the corn yield and seed quality was improved, with less grain loss.

"Growers frequently commented that Headline-treated corn produced the best-looking corn in their fields," Fellows said.

With sales of EUR 3,298 million in 2005, BASF's Agricultural Products division is a leader in crop protection and a strong partner to the farming industry providing well-established and innovative fungicides, insecticides and herbicides. Farmers use these products and services to improve crop yields and crop quality. Other uses include public health, structural/urban pest control, turf and ornamental plants, vegetation management, and forestry. BASF aims to turn knowledge rapidly into market success.

The vision of BASF's Agricultural Products division is to be the world's leading innovator, optimizing agricultural production, improving nutrition, and thus enhancing the quality of life for a growing world population.

SOURCE: BASF Agricultural Products news release.