Growing More Bushels: In-field work points to the value of fungicide use to manage disease and boost yields

April 26, 2007 04:01 PM
 

Work is under way by BASF to introduce new crop protection products to the market with the broad spectrum potential of pyraclostrobin. These forthcoming products will offer growers an opportunity to improve yields in situations where disease conditions may reduce a crop's potential, according to Gary Fellows, Ph.D., Technical Marketing Manager, Corn and Soybean Fungicides, BASF Agricultural Products. Fellows explained plant health field observations to media during the 2007 Plant Health Symposium in Tampa, Fla.

Fellows says two key areas BASF is exploring include tolerance to cold and to drought. "Cold tolerance is an interesting area of crop production," he says. "Preliminary findings from field and greenhouse work conducted by BASF show that Headline® fungicide can reduce the stress caused by a cold-weather event after spring planting or during flowering."

Turning off the heat
"A potential new use of pyraclostrobin we are looking at is for seed treatment and the potential benefit there may be in cold tolerance on corn plants," Fellows says. In one trial, comparisons were made between pyraclostrobin, asoxystrobin and water. When corn plants reached the V1 stage, they were put into a cold chamber with the temperature dropped to minus 5 degrees C (23 degrees F) for one hour. The results showed little impact on the V1 plants, showing they had some resistance to a short cold snap.

When the cold time was increased to two hours, damage started to appear; however, pyraclostrobin-treated plants retained their color and some vigor. At three hours, the damage increased, but pyraclostrobin-treated plants only showed 30% damage, while those treated with water alone had 55% damage, Fellows explains.

A second step was to grow the surviving plants to the V3 stage and return them to the cold chamber again. In this case, the pyraclostrobintreated plants held up much better, but other treatments saw plants die off. "Whatever was triggered in the plant’s metabolism was still working two to three weeks later," Fellows observes. This observed benefit is being developed into new products.

Turning off the water
For a look at drought response, Fellows offered the J&J Farms in Hinds County, Miss., as an example. "That farm faced one of the hottest, driest summers recorded," he says. "However, the portion of the field treated with Headline posted a 25-bushel yield advantage."

Fellows recalls that during a field day demonstration at the plot, farmers attending were upset over the results. "Many had elected not to use Headline they had purchased because they thought the investment would be wasted on the corn, which turned out not to be the case," Fellows remarks.

This drought-tolerance response has been shown in other fields, and lab tests verified what was observed in the field. "Corn plants stressed in pots for nine days without water showed that Headline-treated specimens showed less stress response," Fellows notes.

"Soybeans also showed a similar impact; with the Headline-treated soybeans showing significantly greater drought tolerance than untreated soybeans."

If Headline can help the crop make better use of water and nitrogen, and produce a better crop, everyone will benefit, he concludes.


Soybeans subjected to short-term drought conditions show that application of Headline can preserve plant health. These plants are seven days without water in a greenhouse setting.


Always read and follow label directions.

Headline is a registered trademark of BASF.
©2006 BASF Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
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