Satisfying Wheat Demand

February 26, 2009 06:00 PM

Pam Smith, Farm Journal Crops & Production Editor
When wheat prices rose to record levels last year, growers responded by increasing crop plantings and boosting worldwide production. It was the first time in several years that global wheat production exceeded demand.
It wasn't enough. Demand also rose by 1.25 billion bushels following the 2008 harvest and stocks remained the fourth tightest of the past 35 years in terms of days of use.
Wheat economics kicked off the BASF press conference at the 2009 Commodity Classic on Feb. 26 in Grapeville, Texas, but the crop's aggressive diseases were the focal point in the global market discussion. Yield stability and productivity go hand in hand with rebuilding stocks.
Gary Schmitz, BASF's Midwest regional technical manager and Gary Fellows, the diversified regional technical manager for BASF U.S. Crop Protection both emphasize the importance of protecting the wheat plant throughout the lifecycle. From BASF, wheat growers have Charter and Stamina fungicide seed treatments to protect early seed and seedlings from disease. Headline fungicide applied early in the growing season cares for tillering wheat and extends some "plant health” benefits, says Schmitz.
What's new from BASF is TwinLine fungicide. It contains the same active ingredient as Headline plus metconazole and is specifically designed to control stripe rust. "Growers must protect wheat during the flag leaf stage to reduce losses from stripe rust and maximize yield potential,” says Fellows.
Caramba fungicide is another new introduction from BASF. Formulated with metconazole, Caramba received registration last year, but the company expects growers to recognize the full value of the product in 2009 as they fight back against head scab. It provides suppression against scab and offers yield protection and reduced levels of deoxynivalenol (DON).
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