Photosynthesis is the fuel that drives a corn plant’s “engine” – the plant’s ability to create biomass and eventually big, full ears of grain. Optimizing the corn plant’s photosynthesis capabilities is critical to maximizing yield potential for your customers. BASF Technical Marketing Manager, Paula Halabicki, explains how Headline AMP® fungicide helps optimize photosynthesis and keep corn plants greener longer.
“Headline AMP provides three key benefits: disease protection, growth efficiency and stress tolerance,” she explains. “The goal is to maximize photosynthesis in the corn plant – that’s the plant’s ability to convert the sun’s energy into sugars and starches to optimize grain fill. Only green leaf material can photosynthesize, so we want to keep leaves as green as possible for as long as possible.”
Building plant biomass is key to maintaining green leaf material later into the growing season. “Headline AMP helps plants utilize nitrogen more efficiently so they produce more biomass above and below ground,” she says. “They have bigger, stronger root systems to capture water and nutrients more efficiently, which allows them to produce more leaves above ground. Imagine the leaves as solar panels – the more you have, the better that plant captures the sun’s energy. Even on cloudy days, corn treated with Headline AMP captures limited solar energy more efficiently.”
Stress tolerance, whether from disease or environmental stresses, is another key to keeping corn greener longer, and Headline AMP fungicide provides a unique benefit in times of stress, according to Halabicki.
“During stress the plant increases ethylene production,” she explains. “Ethylene is a hormone that increases the breakdown, or senescence, of leaves. In fruits and vegetables we call this ripening. But in corn plants, ethylene production starts shutting down the plant’s ‘engine,’ meaning the plant won’t produce as much grain or as high-quality grain as possible. Ethylene production can also cause the plant to draw nutrients from other parts of the plant to try to fill that grain. This can weaken the plant and may make it vulnerable to lodging.”
Studies have shown that applying Headline AMP fungicide at tassel delivers the most significant yield boost (+12.5 bu/A over untreated)*. “This timing is key because at this stage, the plant is moving from being focused on creating biomass to focusing on filling grain,” explains Halabicki. “Keeping the leaves above the ears green is critical – these leaves contribute approximately 75 percent of the plant’s carbohydrates and energy.”
Halabicki also recommends scouting earlier in the season, and watching for disease development below the ear leaves. “If the disease is appearing lower in the canopy, you know it’s spreading upward to those ear leaves – that should trigger a fungicide application. Or if you have a forecast of hot, dry weather during tasseling, it’s important to apply Headline AMP to help plants minimize the impact of that stress.”
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*Results may vary
Headline AMP is a registered trademark of BASF.