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September 2010 Archive for Syngenta Field Report

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The Syngenta Field Report features information and experts from Syngenta sharing observations about issues growers are dealing with in the fields.

Protect soybeans from nematode damage

Sep 28, 2010

Management options for soybean nematodes (microscopic, thread-like round worms that are parasites on or in root systems) are limited, but a seed treatment for soybeans was recently registered for use.  Applied in conjunction with a seed treatment insecticide and seed-applied fungicides, this first-of-its-kind seed treatment combination starts working from day one to increase plant stand, vigor and yield potential.  Plus, seed treatments protect your seed investment. 
There are several advantages to this seed treatment combination:
  • Helps promote healthy, vigorous seedlings from the first day of planting
  • Complements performance of nematode-resistant soybean varieties
  • Provides protection against a wide variety of damaging nematode species, including soybean cyst nematode
  • Protects against a broad range of early-season insects and disease pathogens
  • Proven to help increase plant stand, vigor and soybean yield potential
  • Convenient on-the-seed treatment
  • Improves efficiency and reduces labor and replanting cost

Nominate Your Resistance Fighter of the Year Today

Sep 24, 2010

Chuck Foresman

The Syngenta Resistance Fighter of the Year program recognizes individuals who are tackling weed resistance head on through research and educational efforts that provide growers with the solutions they need to combat this real and growing threat in the field.

RFY promotion ppt slideOur 2009 winners demonstrate a passion for the preservation of glyphosate and the future of agriculture.  They devote extensive time and effort toward their work and are helping many growers successfully manage glyphosate resistance.  We know there are more individuals across the country with similar passion and devotion that are deserving of this recognition, which is why we are continuing our Resistance Fighter of the Year program.

2010 Resistance Fighter of the Year nominations are being accepted now through November 19, 2010, at  Eligible nominees include retailers, consultants and county extension agents who have successfully implemented resistance management practices with producers in their area.

Looking Back at 2010 to Provide Clear Vision for 2011

Sep 21, 2010

Gordon Vail

As harvest gets underway, it’s interesting to reflect on comments growers and retailers made about the 2010 growing season and what practices to maintain or change going into 2011. Here are some thoughts my colleagues heard in Iowa this season.
Weed Control
“Glyphosate alone just isn’t cutting it anymore.” That was the general concern of every grower and retailer when talking about tough broadleaf weeds like waterhemp, lambsquarters, marestail, velvetleaf and giant ragweed.
Retailers said they will continue to push their customers to be proactive about weed resistance management by encouraging the use of pre-emergence herbicides in corn and soybean, which will help lessen the rate of glyphosate required post-emergence, widen the window for glyphosate application, add additional modes of action to a grower’s weed control program and protect yield potential by managing early-season weed competition.
Others will recommend post-emergence herbicide premixes in corn and soybean that contain glyphosate and ingredients that provide residual control. Some will also suggest tank mixing a residual broadleaf corn herbicide with glyphosate for more effective weed control and another mode of action for weed resistance management.
Insect Management
Some predict an increase in the use of corn insecticides due to the adaptation of corn rootworms. “Rootworm corn is great, but it isn’t the end-all be-all to corn rootworm,” one retailer said. “Last year, we dug roots into August and still had rootworm larvae hatching and feeding.”
Disease Protection
Finally, as diseases such as grey leaf spot, anthracnose and rust start to make an appearance, growers are considering the benefits of fungicide application in both corn and soybean and are putting out strip trials that will be evaluated at harvest.
What did you learn from the 2010 growing season that you will incorporate into your 2011 crop plans?

Corn Standability and Harvestability

Sep 17, 2010

Eric Tedford

What is your worst corn growing nightmare? Is it a potentially successful growing season marred by stalk rots, diseases, stalk lodging and reduced harvestability? Even though approximately 20 to 30 percent of the corn acres in America can be affected by these problems each year, there is a tool that may spare you this headache.
Strobilurin fungicides were designed to give crops superior protection and curative abilities against a wide array of yield-robbing diseases. Since the introduction of azoxystrobin, other benefits from this fungicide have been noticed, among those are improved stalk standability. 
Alison Robertson, a plant pathologist at Iowa State University, said that improved standability absolutely leads to a more efficient and easier harvest. Stalk standability is determined by root strength, stalk strength and overall plant quality 
Fallen, or lodged, stalks make harvesting much more difficult and reduce yields. Combines must slow down considerably to pick up downed ears, reducing harvest efficiency and speed. Robertson also pointed out that fallen stalks have ears in close contact to the ground. This increases the chances of ear rots so the grain you do manage to collect is often of a lower quality.
An added benefit from your strobilurin fungicide application you can look forward to is not having to deal with those stalk issues. Strobilurin fungicides work hard to improve the performance of your plants through greater green leaf area and better photosynthesis, and increased water use efficiency. These physiological benefits, combined with the proven broad spectrum disease control strobilurins provide, will allow you to look forward to a harvest with fewer lodged corn stalks and downed ears as well as increased efficiency.
What are you expecting for your harvest this year?


Root health: Killers vs. Nibblers

Sep 14, 2010

Dr. Palle Pedersen

I spent some quality time this summer traveling across the Midwest to check out plots testing various seed treatments. I was joined by Wayne Pedersen, a professor emeritus from the University of Illinois, who shared his insight into root health. 
He described a couple key disease threats to crop roots. "Killers," like Phytophthora, attack and kill plants. They can cause the need for replants. But although they sound less threatening, he says "Nibblers," diseases like Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, and Pythium can steal more crop yield.
Why? Because they feed on root tips, or nibble at them. Basically, a healthy root system is made up of many small, fine roots, because that means the system has more root tips. That’s where nutrients and water enter the plant. "Nibblers" impact the root tips, keeping the plant from getting everything it needs to reach maximum yield potential.

Dr. Pedersen (no relation, by the way) recommends seed treatments with a strong disease package to protect root health in both corn and soybeans. That’s the best way to protect root tips from "nibbling" diseases.

Atrazine review: Will sound science prevail?

Sep 10, 2010

Chuck Foresman

Following is a guest blog from my colleague Beth Carroll, with the Syngenta regulatory group, as another EPA hearing on atrazine is scheduled for Sept. 14-17. 
Beth Carroll 
Do you remember the panic over Alar on apples about 20 years ago? 
An investigative journalist who dug into the science and the EPA hearings around the Alar issue writes that he sees parallels between that scare and the current debate over atrazine herbicide. His perspective on how science can be manipulated to support a point is fascinating, and the costs he reported to the apple industry were real.
This year, the EPA is in the process of reviewing new studies related to atrazine with a series of Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) meetings, even though the Agency completed an extensive, 12-year review of the herbicide in 2006. At that time, EPA ruled that atrazine should be re-registered. And even though the EPA has continued to scrutinize atrazine’s safety by conducting several SAPs on atrazine in 2007 & 2009. Last fall, in announcing yet another several year re-re-review of atrazine, the Agency said, “Recently, articles in the media and a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) have raised human health concerns for atrazine and have been critical of EPA’s regulatory oversight of this herbicide.” 
According to a regional EPA director, the Agency’s goal is not to ban atrazine, but to base its decision on the soundest science available. As they consider the new studies, I trust that they won’t disregard the proof of atrazine’s safety provided by the weight of evidence of more than 6,000 studies the EPA says have been previously submitted. 
As the executive director of the International Policy Network points out in another article, time has shown that not all potential threats come to pass. The author notes that many of the technologies feared by environmentalists have turned out to be environmentally benign and have helped increase yields and reduce soil erosion.
Growers agree that technology, including the effective, economical herbicide atrazine, helps them feed the world. For that reason, let’s be sure sound science, rather than activist media hype, prevails in this case.

Is Plant Performance Tied to Preventing Volunteer Corn?

Sep 07, 2010

Eric Tedford

You could probably say foliar diseases come with a lot of baggage. Not only do they infect your crops, make harvest more difficult, costly, and reduce yields, but they also have the tendency to haunt your fields the following year as well.           
Reduced harvestability and standability can be caused by disease infection. If stalk strength is affected, this can result in dropped ears, which returns seeds to the soil leading to volunteer corn the following season.  
Dr. Alison Robertson, a plant pathologist from Iowa State University, says foliar diseases are often related to stalk rot. Anthracnose is a good example of a highly treatable foliar disease that causes stalk rot and can lead to downed ears. The downed ears cannot be picked up by the combine and are left in the field to grow as volunteer corn the next year, diverting nutrients from the new crop.
The reduced incidence of volunteer corn is another reason you can spend less time worrying if you applied a strobilurin fungicide. In addition to the disease protection and increased standability and harvestability you will enjoy as a result of your strobilurin fungicide application, you may also have less volunteer corn. Strobilurin fungicides work to improve plant processes in addition to preventing and fighting foliar diseases. Healthy corn plants drop fewer ears, which will leave cleaner fields for you to plant in the following season. 
When you decided to apply a strobilurin fungicide this year you made a wise choice. Strobilurins are proving their value in the market and their ability to reduce volunteer corn forces foliar diseases to leave their baggage at the door. 
Last year, did you see a difference in standability and harvestability after a strobilurin application?
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