Let diseases get a head start? Or get out ahead of diseases?

May 1, 2018 04:04 PM

Proactive beats reactive for ROI when it comes to fungicides in corn.

Rotation, hybrids, seed treatments, nutrients, preplant herbicides — the list of decisions you have to make this time of year is long. “Proactive fungicide use” should be on that list. Fungicide efficacy and yield can be reduced when fungicide applications are made reactively, after signs of disease become visible, rather than preventatively, before symptoms appear.


Another factor supporting the decision to apply Headline AMP® fungicide proactively is that this fungicide provides the benefits of controlling disease, and Plant Health benefits such as improving growth efficiency and stress tolerance. By taking proactive steps to help plants stay greener, healthier and more productive throughout the growing season, growers can see more consistent yield improvements.

Here are the facts around why you should plan for a foliar fungicide application, even during times of low disease pressure.


Foliar fungicides applied before infection can stop the spread and damage.
Some growers apply a fungicide only after they see disease symptomology. Take gray leaf spot, for example. Symptoms of this disease show up about 12 days after initial infection of the plant. Even though no disease symptoms are visible during this latent period, fungal infection continues to grow and draw vital resources from the plant. Making a proactive fungicide application can prevent the spread of the disease to upper canopy leaves that are most important for grain fill and yield.

Curative or post-infection fungicides will not cure a plant from disease. They can stop the progress but can’t reverse the damage already incurred. If growers wait until symptomology is visible, the disease has already had a minimum nine-day head start to do its damage.

This leaves growers with a choice: Do you want to let disease get a head start, or do you get out ahead of disease, apply proactively and get the healthiest plants possible? The good news is that Headline AMP fungicide works both preventatively as well as post-infection.

Applications of the foliar fungicide Headline AMP fungicide provide increased stress tolerance.
Stress to corn is caused by two primary factors: foliar diseases and weather variability. Applications of Headline AMP fungicide decrease stress during pollination and grain fill by controlling foliar diseases, reducing production of ethylene and reducing oxidative stress. This stress is caused by cell-damaging molecules like reactive oxygen species that increase in response to stress factors and inhibit plant growth.

A plant under stress from factors such as heat, drought, hail or disease infection produces ethylene (a plant hormone and the same gas that initiates fruit ripening). In corn, ethylene production shuts down plant growth and reduces productivity, leading to leaf senescence and kernel abortion. An application of Headline AMP fungicide promotes nitric oxide production in the plant, which inhibits ethylene, so the plant can continue to grow, be productive and recuperate more quickly once the stress is mitigated.

Fungicides can help plants grow more efficiently.

Between 2014 and 2016, BASF conducted a study at its Midwest Research Farm in Seymour, Illinois, to understand the benefits of applying Headline AMP fungicide on over 50 hybrids in different environmental conditions. In 2015, disease pressure was high, and on average across all hybrids, Headline AMP fungicide improved yields by 18.2 bu/A compared with the untreated group. Even in 2014 and 2016, relatively low disease growing seasons, Headline AMP fungicide helped improve yields by about 11 bu/A compared with untreated fields.

The study sheds light on the role of Headline AMP fungicide with photosynthesis
When delving into factors that may have impacted yields during the 2016 season under low disease pressure, researchers noticed that solar radiation was reduced in the month of July, during the periods of pollination and grain fill. Cloud cover impacted the ability of plants to photosynthesize, thus reducing grain fill and yield. However, the application of Headline AMP fungicide still provided a 10.7 bu/A yield increase compared with the control group.


The application of Headline AMP fungicide improved plant growth efficiency by increasing nitrogen assimilation and photosynthesis. For a plant to photosynthesize, it needs water, carbon dioxide and light. These three components are then converted into sugars, which the plant uses for growth and grain production. The application of Headline AMP fungicide increased root growth for more water uptake, increased stomatal conductance (exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen) and promoted nitrogen assimilation, which ultimately resulted in greater photosynthetic activity and yield.

In 2015, the researchers in Illinois found that compared with the untreated check, the Headline AMP fungicide-treated plants showed increased photosynthetic activity throughout the day, but especially between noon and 2 p.m. Since this timeframe is when there is the most sunlight, the finding is important because this is the most efficient time of day to photosynthesize. More efficient photosynthesis means a more efficient yield factory for higher potential.

Because of the benefits of Plant Health, the application of Headline AMP fungicide has shown a positive yield response more than 92 percent of the time on over 500 on-farm trials across the U.S. over a six-year period. Planning for a proactive application of Headline AMP fungicide can help you see consistently healthier, more productive corn, which can improve your yields and ROI.


Always read and follow label directions.
Headline AMP is a registered trademark of BASF.
© 2018 BASF Corporation. All rights reserved.




Back to news


Spell Check

No comments have been posted to this News Article

Corn College TV Education Series


Get nearly 8 hours of educational video with Farm Journal's top agronomists. Produced in the field and neatly organized by topic, from spring prep to post-harvest. Order now!


Market Data provided by QTInfo.com
Brought to you by Beyer