The unpredictability of weather can be stressful for your customers, but it can be just as stressful for their corn crop, too.
When it comes to unpredictable environmental factors that can “stress corn out,” aside from disease pressure, drought and heat are at the top of the list. What’s worse is that these two factors typically occur at the same time and can have a negative impact on yield.
For example, if corn has enough water in the soil when it experiences temperatures in the mid-90s, the corn plant may be able to handle the stress caused by the high heat if it’s not prolonged. But with the ever-changing weather forecast, don’t you want to help your customers mitigate this risk?
Water and sunlight are two key elements corn needs in order to grow efficiently, but each year it’s impossible to know exactly how much rain and sunshine growers in your area will receive. When corn is exposed to dry weather and soil conditions, with lots of sunlight but not enough water, photosynthesis is reduced. And when photosynthesis is reduced, energy production and yield potential are negatively impacted.
Plant roots draw water and nutrients from the soil, distributing them to the rest of the corn plant. Transpiration is the process of pulling water from the roots to small pores on the underside of leaves, called stomata, where it evaporates into the atmosphere. This process is also responsible for orchestrating photosynthesis and cooling leaves when the weather is hot.
When conditions are hot and dry, transpiration is increased and stomata remain open. This allows plants to stay cooler, however, they use more soil moisture. If soils begin to dry, stomata begin to close, water intake reduces, and internal plant temperature increases. Just like when we run a fever, plants that have high internal temperatures don’t operate efficiently either.
Under heat and drought stress, with stomata closed and transpiration reduced, leaves will begin to wilt, and if conditions persist, plant leaves can begin to senesce (age prematurely), negatively affecting photosynthesis and yield.
So, what can you do to help your customers?
You can help your customers protect their corn against the negative impacts of drought and heat stress by educating them on the benefits of making a proactive application of Headline AMP® fungicide.
Headline AMP fungicide provides Plant Health benefits that include disease protection, increased growth efficiency and stress tolerance. Headline AMP fungicide provides best-in-class preventative and post-infection disease control for diseases that matter most to corn growers.
In addition to disease control, applications of Headline AMP fungicide have been shown to keep stomata open longer versus untreated plants. This increases the opportunity for photosynthesis and can allow for improved gas exchange during periods of heat and drought. Keeping stomata open during prolonged dry conditions is important to maintain transpiration and photosynthesis while protecting yield potential.
A BASF-sponsored field trial in Kentucky in 2015, highlighted the Plant Health benefits of using Headline AMP fungicide by comparing minimum and intensively managed corn. Under intensive management, with an application of Headline AMP fungicide, canopy temperatures were reduced and yield was increased over the minimum management treatments by 38.9 bu/A.
Wondering when the best time to apply Headline AMP fungicide is? Growers who wait to apply Headline AMP fungicide after the plant has started to wilt due to heat and drought stress are too late. However, those who look at the weather forecast and make a plan of attack on how to combat the pressures ahead can see greater ROI.
To learn more about the Plant Health benefits of using Headline AMP fungicide, visit GrowSmartCorn.com.
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Headline AMP is a registered trademark of BASF.