Source: BASF news release

A panel hosted by BASF last week at 2009 Commodity Classic examined how technology can help manage disease in wheat and cereals to meet the growing global demand for grain.

Featuring Futures Market Analyst Arlan Suderman, the panel also included BASF technical experts on plant disease, Gary Fellows, Ph.D., and Gary Schmitz, Ph.D. The panel covered the increasing global demand for wheat, the most aggressive diseases that affect wheat and proper disease management.

Last year's wheat crop was unusual due to record prices, which created more interest in crop plantings and, subsequently, a boost in worldwide wheat production. For the first time in several years, global wheat production exceeded demand. However, because demand also rose by 1.25 billion bushels following the 2008 harvest, stocks remained the fourth tightest of the past 35 years in terms of days of use.

"Rebuilding stocks is difficult due to wide yield variability caused by weather and disease," Suderman said. "Greater yield stability and productivity will be essential for meeting the world's food and feed needs over the next five years."

The panel emphasized a number of factors to get the most out of every acre:

  • Selecting the best varieties for the geography and conditions
  • Using sound management practices and safeguarding growers' investment by protecting the seed
  • Controlling diseases

  • Maximizing Plant Health benefits

"Preventing disease right from the beginning is important to get seedlings off to a healthy start," Schmitz said. "As the plant matures, disease pressure increases, so it's critical to continue protecting the plant throughout its lifecycle."

The portfolio of products from BASF provides excellent disease control. Charter and Stamina fungicide seed treatments have demonstrated protection for early seed and seedlings from disease. The result is healthier seedlings and a yield advantage potential of three to six bushels per acre.

Headline fungicide applied early in the growing season provides a strong start for tillering wheat, excellent disease control and Plant Health benefits that provide higher yield potential and enhanced ROI. In the past five years of nationwide trials, early season Headline-treated wheat has shown an average yield increase of four to six bushels per acre compared to untreated wheat.

Headline provides excellent control of major foliar diseases and improved stress tolerance, as well as better use of nitrogen fertilizer and more efficient photosynthesis. This leads to improved standability, and healthier, cleaner straw at harvest, which results in less lodged wheat and faster, more efficient harvest.

TwinLine fungicide, powered by the same active ingredient in Headline and metconazole, is specifically designed to control stripe rust. In eight small-plot trials in 2008 with stripe rust pressure, wheat treated with TwinLine at flag leaf demonstrated an average yield increase of 15 bushels per acre compared to untreated wheat.

"Stripe rust has the potential to cause losses of 40 percent or more," Fellows said. "Growers must protect wheat during the flag leaf stage to reduce losses from stripe rust and maximize yield potential."

Caramba fungicide delivers best-in-class head scab suppression with significant yield protection and reduction of levels of DON in wheat. Formulated with metconazole, Caramba received registration last year and is another highly-effective fungicide technology in the BASF wheat fungicide portfolio.

"Head scab makes your grain unmarketable, ruining the financial investment, time and hard work that went into your crop that season," Fellows said. "It's the most destructive wheat disease facing growers. It reduces yield and test weight, and increases levels of deoxynivalenol (DON)."

"Growers have the monumental task of supplying the food, fuel and fiber needed to meet the demands of an expanding global population," Schmitz said. "Our mission at BASF is to help growers meet this challenge by getting the most out of every acre they plant."