Planning Ahead for Fungicides is Key to Yield

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For many growers, seeing is believing, which is why more time, effort and investment seem to be put into herbicide decisions versus fungicides.

“Growers can actually see a weed and see that weed die. It’s a tangible thing, and they understand the impact weeds will have this season and into next season,” says Paula Halabicki, BASF Technical Marketing Manager. “With fungicides, a grower may scout, see a green crop and then start to see some lesions appear. But if they apply a fungicide after disease symptomology is present, it won’t reverse those visual symptoms. It’s not as tangible.”

A green plant is generally assumed to be an indicator of a healthy plant when, in fact, the plant may already be infected with disease unseen to the eye.

“A disease can be in the latent period, where it’s still developing within the plant and before the period that it produces physical symptoms,” Halabicki says. “We’re trying to show growers that the pathogen is actually there, and to achieve effective control, it’s important to start planning ahead for fungicide application – more like herbicide planning.”

Plan for a Successful Season

In the beginning of the season, growers have many different expenses: land payments, tillage, crop insurance, seed, fertilizer and herbicides. All of these costs are incurred before the seed even gets into the ground.

“By midseason, when we suggest it would be valuable for growers to protect their investment and apply a fungicide, growers tend to feel like they’ve already made a significant investment,” says Halabicki. “If we can change the conversation and get growers to consider the value a fungicide can bring, we are then managing for yield and ROI, not just input cost. When we talk about the potential for increased yields and profit, we show positive results more than 75% of the time, and growers are ultimately looking to maximize their return on investment.”

In more than 550 on-farm trials for Headline AMP® fungicide in corn that have been conducted over the last five years, Headline AMP fungicide provides better yield benefits over the untreated at least 92% of the time.

BASF Case Study in Corn

BASF’s goal is to help educate growers about the benefits of penciling in fungicides as part of their planning process and be proactive about their fungicide application decisions. If they are willing to consider making those decisions when they’re planning their herbicide purchase, it changes the conversation, Halabicki says.

Explaining Plant Health

The Plant Health benefits of Headline AMP fungicide include three specific and unique areas. First, Headline AMP fungicide provides effective disease control against key corn diseases like northern corn leaf blight and gray leaf spot.

Second, Headline AMP fungicide provides improved growth efficiency. F500®, one of the active ingredients in this product, impacts the mitochondria in the pathogen and in the plant. As a result, the plant boosts its nitrogen use efficiency and increases photosynthesis.

“We can actually increase the effectiveness of some of the plant’s system pathways, which provides overall growth efficiencies that we can see – greener leaves, stronger stems and a larger root system,” said Halabicki.

The third area that Plant Health impacts is stress tolerance. During stress events, Headline AMP fungicide increases the amount of nitrous oxide that’s produced within the plant, which reduces ethylene production, thus preventing leaf senescence and kernel abortion.

“If a growing corn plant is suddenly impacted by heat or drought stress, for example, because we can reduce the ethylene production within the plant better than any other product on the market, we can help the plant maintain its growth through the stress event and then recuperate once the stress event has minimized,” Halabicki says.

To learn more about BASF’s corn portfolio, visit

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