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August 2011 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.

Be on the Lookout for Grasshoppers in Dry Weather

Aug 25, 2011

Roy Boykin, Ph.D.

Grasshopper infestations are cyclical; the population rapidly escalates for two or three years before it peaks and then returns for two or three years to normal population levels. Population decline occurs when the insects run out of food or when disease spreads throughout the swarms. But after the lull in reproduction, the numbers begin to mount again and the cycle continues.

In large numbers, grasshopper swarms can become particularly damaging, with some species known to be capable of eating up to seven times their body weight in vegetation daily. Therefore, when scouting for grasshoppers, look for round to ragged holes in soybean leaves that extend in from the leaf margins and between the veins. Grasshoppers may also feed on and damage soybean pods, often chewing through the pod tissue into the seed, which, according to Purdue University, may be a serious problem in dry years like this one.  

The 2010 season was labeled as a "peak" year for grasshopper infestations, with some states experiencing population levels not seen since 1980. According to entomologist Robert Wright of the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, numbers of adult grasshoppers last year are an indicator of the number of eggs laid. And the number of eggs that survive the overwintering stage will determine the grasshopper populations this year.
With dry weather and late planted soybeans, stay aware of the spread of grasshoppers to determine if your soybean fields could be at risk. If populations arise in your area, check your local university Extension to see if an insecticide application is warranted. If so, it is important to treat fields with a broad-spectrum insecticide before serious damage occurs. A broad-spectrum insecticide with the proven performance of three industry-leading technologies can offer fast knockdown and long-lasting residual control to create the best chance to protect soybean and optimize potential yield. 

Roy Boykin, Ph.D., Senior Technical Brand Lead, Insecticides, Syngenta 
Roy is responsible for the technical development, positioning and product life cycle management of insecticides for all business units in North America. Roy received his undergraduate education at the College of Charleston with majors in biology and business and received his master’s/doctorate degrees in entomology with minors in plant pathology and crop science from North Carolina State University.

Does Your Fungicide Provide Disease Control and More?

Aug 16, 2011

Eric Tedford

Soybean is a fairly hardy plant that can withstand mildly adverse conditions, but when every bushel makes a difference, even slight pest pressures can impact your bottom line. Disease pressure is one of the most troublesome and underrated, yield-limiting factors to consider when planning for the next season. But the symptoms, spread and impact of soybean diseases can be broad and varied. 

The ability of foliar diseases to harm crops throughout the entire season reminds us that one of the most reliable ways to control disease is to apply a broad-spectrum fungicide preventively. A fungicide containing the active ingredient azoxystrobin controls fungal pathogens from all four classes of fungi. However, by applying a broad-spectrum strobilurin fungicide, you are doing more than just controlling foliar diseases, such as aerial blight, alternaria leaf spot and frogeye leaf spot; you are enhancing the plant’s physiological benefits as well. Physiological benefits result from the plant’s response to the fungicide that improve plant growth processes and reduce the impact of environmental stress.
Plants need the right combination and balance of a multitude of influencers—nutrients, sunlight, water—to thrive. In addition to disease control, a strobilurin fungicide can provide three key benefits to maximize the genetic potential of soybean: improved plant growth, increased water use efficiency and extended pod fill.     
Improved plant growth is achieved by increased carbon dioxide absorption that allows plants to use the sun’s energy more efficiently. It is also the result of a better utilization of nitrogen, which allows plants to produce proteins that are essential for plant growth and development. This, in turn, creates higher yields.
Increased water use efficiency is gained by the conservation of soil moisture and results in more crop growth. This can be especially helpful to late-planted soybean throughout these hot, dry summer months.
Extended pod fill is the final step in optimizing yields. This is established through preserved green leaf area that provides longer photosynthesis and slows plant aging to maximize growth and yield development.
In addition to disease control, a fungicide containing azoxystrobin works to improve plant growth and development, therefore increasing yields and crop quality. By using a fungicide, you take the critical step of treating diseases in your fields with the added bonus of maximizing the crops’ potential.

Eric Tedford, Fungicide Technical Brand Manager for Syngenta, provides technical leadership for the development of fungicides. His experience includes fungicide research and development for field crops, development of postharvest fungicides, and global technical development of fungicides. He holds bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees in plant pathology from the University of Massachusetts, Clemson University, and the University of California (Davis), respectively.
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