When choosing a corn hybrid, the selection process often focuses on the hybrids susceptibility to a particular disease or group of diseases. In addition to disease control benefits that fungicides provide, have you ever discussed the additional benefits some fungicides may provide with your customers?
“If there’s a hybrid that is susceptible to a problem disease, then it’s important for growers to plan to make a fungicide application due to the presence of a fungal pathogen,” says Jeremy Hogan, BASF Technical Marketing Agronomist. “BASF’s fungicides have proven to provide consistent protection from a fungal disease standpoint, however additional Plant Health benefits including reduced stress and increased growth efficiency within the plant are often overlooked.”
Heat- and Moisture-Stressed Corn
If the corn crop experiences high nighttime temperatures just prior to, during, or following pollination then plant respiration rates go up significantly. This requires the plant to expend excess energy that could otherwise be used for plant cooling as well as dry matter accumulation. BASF’s Plant Health products, including Headline AMP® and Priaxor® fungicides, help minimize stress and lower respiration rates,” Hogan says. “Also, in droughty conditions when plants are experiencing moisture stress, we have seen our Plant Health products lower ethylene production and reduce oxidative stress within the plant, resulting in an increased rate of photosynthesis and an extended grainfill period.”
Improved Growth Efficiency
When there is minimal or no disease present, and very little environmental stress occurring, we can still see Plant Health benefits due to increased growth efficiency. An example of this would include environments where several cloudy days occur with no direct sunlight that limits photosynthesis production particularly during pollination and grainfill. Research has shown that an application of BASF’s Headline AMP fungicide can maintain photosynthesis at a higher rate in the absence of sunshine by enhancing photosynthesis production and improving nitrogen utilization, resulting in more dry matter accumulation and thus more yield potential.
Plant Health Creates Yield Potential
Research has found that Plant Health applications can help increase yield potential. Hybrids with a high disease tolerance to a particular disease often see an excellent response to BASF fungicides due to additional Plant Health benefits.
Although a hybrid rating might indicate that a grower doesn’t need to spray Headline AMP fungicide for disease control, Hogan says their research often shows double-digit yield benefits from a Plant Health perspective.
“A few years ago, a new hybrid was launched with high tolerance to disease, and the seed company indicated growers did not need to make a fungicide application to the hybrid,” Hogan says. “However, what we found from a growth efficiency standpoint was those hybrids gave us the highest response to a Plant Health application even though they had exceptional disease tolerance.”
BASF fungicides not only control disease but also impact the physiology of corn plants, which allows them to better handle yield-reducing environmental conditions.
“It's not just about disease. When applying BASF Plant Health products such as Headline AMP and Priaxor, there are other avenues to extract yield potential besides specifically treating for disease,” Hogan concludes.
To learn more about BASF’s corn portfolio, visit GrowSmartCorn.com.
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