Demand calls for increased production efficiency

April 26, 2007 03:59 PM

Anticipate higher soybean demand
There’s good news for soybean growers. A push for energy self-sufficiency and public demand for alternative energy sources are set to converge. And there’s a good likelihood that the result will be increased demand for biodiesel — and a corresponding call for higher soybean production.

But there’s also a challenge. Soybean producers will have to overcome per-acre yields that have remained relatively flat for a decade. And that’s where Headline® fungicide and a new American Soybean Association (ASA) program will play a critical role.

Answering the knock of opportunity
The program, called Secure Optimal Yield (SOY), will work to establish best practices among producers. The program will take a total management approach to yield improvement, including the planned use of Headline fungicide for disease control and its additive Plant Health benefits.

More than 100 growers across the country have been selected to participate in the BASF-sponsored program. Each grower will allocate 20 or more acres within one or more fields and grow a Roundup Ready® soybean variety of the grower’s choice.

The growers will treat "control" acres with a single post application of glyphosate. In contrast, "test" acres will be treated with a burn-down application that includes a BASF residual herbicide, one post application of glyphosate and one application of Headline fungicide at R2-R3. Then the growers will compare the yield results of the control and test treatments.

What’s the impetus behind the SOY program approach? In 750 soybean trials across the U.S. in 2006, Headline elevated soybean yields by 4 to 8 bu/A. In separate trials, the application of a post-emergent tank-mix including glyphosate and a BASF herbicide with residual activity boosted Roundup Ready yields by 4 to 9 bu/A. The ASA SOY program will demonstrate how the combined benefit of BASF fungicide and herbicide together can enable soybean growers to optimize productivity, squeezing out more yield per acre.

University research shows Headline is the right response
Headline starts by providing excellent foliar disease control, says Dr. Melvin Newman, Professor, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, University of Tennessee, and Extension Plant Pathologist. Headline controls key diseases in soybeans, such as anthracnose, Cercospora leaf blight, Septoria brown spot, frogeye leaf spot, Alternaria leaf spot, pod and stem blight and rhizoctonia aerial blight, as well as offering preventative protection from Asian soybean rust.

And its benefits extend to improved disease control and Plant Health, including less defoliation. "Headline holds the leaves longer, which puts more bulk in the seeds," says Dr. Newman, who ran test trials in Tennessee. "For example, in one of our trials, the check was 80 to 100 percent defoliated, and Headline was only 5 percent defoliated."

Dr. Newman also found Headline helped plants to better weather storms. In his trials, "the soybeans had better standability," says Dr. Newman. "The soybeans sprayed with Headline stood up after the storm while the rest of the field was lying down. Those beans still maintained the strength of the stalk."

To determine when spraying gives the best plant health benefits, Dr. Newman varied the timing of Headline application between R1 to R5 stages of soybean development. Application at the R3 stage (beginning of pod) gave the best results, with a yield advantage of 11.5 bu/A. In comparison, application at the R1 (early flowering) stage gave a yield advantage was 4.2 bu/A. At the R5 stage, the average yield advantage was 7.6 bu/A.

What’s best for you?
The American Soybean Association recognizes the likelihood of demand increasing. And it encourages growers to look for innovative ways to boost their yield to meet the need. Even if you are not one of this year’s SOY program participants, you can still conduct your own on-farm trials and measure the results in bushels and bottom-line profit, the ASA suggests.

So how will you boost your soybean yields this year? Now’s a great time to consider applying Headline on your acres.

Always read and follow label directions.

Headline is a registered trademark of BASF.
©2007 BASF Corporation. All Rights Reserved. 07-01-088-0006
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