When thinking about fungicides, we often start by considering last season’s disease-prone acres to help develop a plan of attack for the year ahead. But one topic that might not be top of mind when thinking about fungicides is how they can help extend grain fill.
"Based on research conducted at the BASF Midwest Research Farm, on average growers can expect a 1 percent yield increase for each day grain fill is extended," said Paula Halabicki, BASF Technical Marketing Manager. This is similar to what was found by Iowa State in 2012 where they concluded that for every day grain fill is extended, grain yield increases by 1 to 3 percent. "The longer you can extend that grain fill period, the more positive yield impact you can have from a fungicide application."
Grain fill is a critical time for corn growers to maximize their yield, but it can also be a very stressful time for the plant. To extend grain fill, it’s important to minimize stresses the plant might endure as it focuses its energy on making grain, such as disease pressure, lack of nutrients or environmental stresses.
“Early on in the season, the plant is trying to build biomass, but later on in the season it is taking all of its reserves, including photosynthate and carbohydrates, and pushing that into the grain and the ears, making the grain fill period even more important,” said Halabicki.
As the plant shifts its focus to putting all available nutrients into grain fill, other parts of the plant such as the stalk and roots might suffer as a result if the plant is not able to withstand the stress of grain fill. This is where a BASF Plant Health fungicide such as Headline AMP® fungicide comes into play.
Headline AMP fungicide provides corn with BASF Plant Health benefits including disease control, stress tolerance and growth efficiency, which can keep leaves greener, maximizing photosynthesis through grain fill. For example, when disease and stress pressures were managed, corn treated with Headline AMP fungicide had 61 days of grain fill compared to 55 days for untreated plants, an 11 percent increase, improving yield by 10.7 bu/A, according to 2016 BASF research conducted at the BASF Midwest Research Farm in Seymour, Illinois. *
When we think about the corn yield components, we have the number of ears per acre multiplied by the number of kernels per ear multiplied by the test weight of each kernel. Headline AMP fungicide can help increase yield by extending the grain fill period, which results in more kernels per ear and more test weight, and therefore maximized yield potential.
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