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Going beyond disease control

Why fungicides should be in a corn grower’s crop protection plan


With seeds in the ground, corn growers’ crop protection plans are just leaving the gate as they officially embark on a new growing season. Many growers started the calendar year by deciding whether they wanted to use crop protection products like seed treatments and pre-plant herbicides. However, are growers also keeping fungicides in mind?


If not, here are three reasons why they should plan ahead for a foliar fungicide application, even under low disease pressure:


1.  Apply foliar fungicides before disease infection


While some growers may want to make fungicide application decisions in-season after disease symptoms are present, it’s important to think about them earlier in the season. By not using fungicides proactively, growers can see yield and ROI losses.


For example, gray leaf spot is a common disease corn growers may face. Symptomology for this disease occurs about 12 days after initial infection of the plant. During this period, no disease symptoms are present; however, fungal infection continues to grow and draw resources from the plant. This makes it even more important to apply a foliar fungicide proactively to prevent the spread of the disease onto the upper canopy leaves.


Post-infection control is most effective when a foliar fungicide is applied prior to infection or in the first 72 hours after infection from gray leaf spot. If growers wait until symptomology is visible, the disease has already had a minimum nine-day head start.


2. Proactive fungicide applications help increase stress tolerance


Foliar diseases and adverse weather are two main causes of stress to corn. When a foliar fungicide is applied, the product helps decrease stress by controlling foliar diseases, reducing ethylene (a plant hormone) production, and reducing oxidative stress.


When corn is under heat stress, for example, it produces ethylene, which reduces plant growth. Applying a foliar fungicide promotes nitric oxide production, which inhibits ethylene, allowing the plant to continue to grow with the stress mitigated.


3. BASF fungicides can help plants grow more efficiently


Between 2014 and 2016, BASF conducted a study on its Midwest Research Farm in Seymour, Illinois, to understand the benefits of applying Headline AMP® fungicide across more than 50 corn hybrids. 2015 saw high disease pressure and 2016 saw relatively low disease pressure, but when Headline AMP fungicide was applied, the overall average yield increase for 2015 and 2016 was 13.5 bu/A over the untreated group.


When taking a closer look at the reasons behind why yield increased in 2015, researchers found, compared to the untreated check, foliar fungicide-treated plants showed increased photosynthetic activity throughout the day, especially between 12 and 2 p.m. This is a critical time for photosynthesis; when disease pressure is managed, an application of foliar fungicide allowed the corn in the study to grow more efficiently.


Growers who apply foliar fungicides not only provide disease control for their corn, but also additional Plant Health benefits, including disease control, growth efficiency and stress tolerance. These proactive measures can improve yields by helping plants stay healthier and more productive throughout the growing season.


To learn more about BASF’s corn portfolio, visit GrowSmartCorn.com.


Always read and follow label directions.


Headline AMP is a registered trademark of BASF.


© 2018 BASF Corporation. All rights reserved.


About BASF’s Crop Protection division


With a rapidly growing population, the world is increasingly dependent on our ability to develop and maintain sustainable agriculture and healthy environments. BASF’s Crop Protection division works with farmers, agricultural professionals, pest management experts and others to help make this possible. With their cooperation, BASF is able to sustain an active R&D pipeline, an innovative portfolio of products and services, and teams of experts in the lab and in the field to support customers in making their businesses succeed. In 2016, BASF’s Crop Protection division generated sales of €5.6 billion. For more information, please visit us at www.agriculture.basf.com or on any of our social media channels.


About BASF

BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has more than 18,200 employees in North America, and had sales of $17.9 billion in 2017. For more information about BASF’s North American operations, visit www.basf.com.


At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The more than 115,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of €64.5 billion in 2017. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS). Further information at www.basf.com.