Crop Tech

March 14, 2009 02:31 PM

EPA Agrees: Plant Health Claim Is Official

There's a new headline with regard to the use of Headline fungicide. It's become the first fungicide to receive a label that includes "plant health claims."

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently agreed to allow BASF, the manufacturer of the product, to make claims that the product not only provides disease control but also guards against additional stresses that can rob the plant of yield. State approvals on the label change are still pending.

Use of foliar fungicides as a method of increasing yield has occasionally been controversial among scientists. Plant pathologists generally agree that the best results with foliar fungicides are observed in the presence of disease pressure. The amount of the yield increase needed to make a fungicide application profitable depends on the cost of the fungicide, the application cost and the price of the commodity.

Rick Chamblee, BASF technical service manager, maintains that Headline improves plant health by increasing the plant's growth efficiency, controlling disease and
enhancing tolerance to stress conditions, such as drought, heat, cold temperatures and ozone damage.

"The plant health benefits of Headline help plants focus their energy on producing more output," Chamblee says. Pyraclostrobin is the active ingredient in Headline. It is a member of the strobilurin family, a class of fungicides with efficacy against a broad spectrum of pathogenic fungi. In general, strobilurin fungicides are considered to be preventative and should be applied prior to or at the beginning stages of disease.

First registered in 2002, Headline is approved for use on more than 90 crops to control more than 50 diseases. Nick Fassler, BASF technical marketing manager, says Headline proved itself in 2008 in the face of extraordinary weather challenges and delayed harvest.

The company reports that its farm trials averaged yield boosts of 12 bu. per acre to 16 bu. per acre in corn and 4 bu. per acre to 8 bu. per acre in soybeans. "That's consistent with results during the past four years for our 6,000 on-farm field trials," Fassler says.


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