Northern Corn Leaf Blight has Damaging Impact on Yield

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Your customers may come to you asking for agronomic advice now that winter is almost over, and they are eager to get back in the field. One way you can help them gain a competitive advantage is by helping them plan for and prevent issues they know may cause yield loss, such as disease pressure.

One disease Midwest corn growers need to prepare for this year is northern corn leaf blight (NCLB). This disease overwinters on corn residue and infects corn during periods of moderate temperatures (between 64 and 81 degrees), high humidity and extended dews, according to the Purdue Extension.1 After observing corn fields for several years, it has been found that this disease has a proven negative impact on yield by reducing green leaf area and photosynthesis, particularly around tasseling. In addition, NCLB can impact standability by increasing stalk rots.1

Between 2013 and 2016, NCLB had the greatest yield impact out of all common corn diseases, where Midwest growers can attribute an average of 28 percent of their yield loss from diseases to NCLB. In 2016 alone, Midwest growers lost 145,200,000 bushels of corn as a result of this disease.2

The two main things you can do to help your customers better prepare for NCLB pressure include: (1) discussing the conditions that help increase the risk of NCLB development, and (2) educating them on the benefits of preventive foliar fungicide application to control diseases before they negatively impact yield.

Learning about the environmental conditions that increase the chances of NCLB development can help growers stay one step ahead in their disease management. According to the Purdue Extension, “northern corn leaf blight survives through the winter on infected corn residue at the soil surface. As the temperature increases at the beginning of summer, the fungus produces spores on the residue, which are then splashed or blown onto the leaves of the new corn plant.”1 Knowing that infection of the plant occurs most often during long periods of hot, humid weather can help act as a signal. When these weather conditions occur, your customers will know to make a proactive fungicide application. This is important as fungicides are much more effective when applied preventively, before symptoms for northern corn leaf blight are present.

Applying a foliar fungicide such as Headline AMP® fungicide prior to disease infection delivers Plant Health benefits including disease control. Headline AMP fungicide provides superior NCLB disease control in both low and high pressure NCLB environments, limiting the negative yield impacts corn growers may face. Growers who make planned Headline AMP fungicide applications will also see Plant Health benefits of improved growth efficiency and stress tolerance. For example, many growers have seen improved stalk strength after applying Headline AMP fungicide, which may help prevent stalks from lodging as the corn increases in height and weight. In addition, some growers have noted increased standability during wind events in areas that received an application of Headline AMP fungicide, thus reducing harvest losses and improving harvest efficiency.

When your corn customers come to you this year asking how you can help them protect a season’s worth of investment, help educate them on conditions conducive for northern corn leaf blight development, and the benefits of applying Headline AMP fungicide to their corn. Be sure to share how Headline AMP fungicide reduces stress during pollination and grain fill by controlling foliar diseases, improving corn growth efficiency and increasing tolerance to adverse weather to help growers optimize their yield potential. Because of these benefits, Headline AMP fungicide can provide growers consistent value, where growers have seen a positive yield response over 94 percent of the time in over 500 on-farm trials over six years.

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Headline AMP is a registered trademark of BASF.
1Wise, K. Purdue Extension. (2011, June). “Diseases of Corn: Northern Corn Leaf Blight.” Retrieved from:
22013–2016 Crop Protection Network Corn Disease Loss Estimates. Retrieved from:


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