Just like in 2006, the majority of winning participants in the 2007 National Corn Growers Association's annual yield contest relied on the superior disease control of Headline® fungicide to contribute to their successful entries. What's more, many of these champions make Headline an important component of their regular production acres, too.
There's no questioning the significance of Headline at this year's National Corn Yield Contest (NCYC). Of the 27 top three finalists in every category, 15 of them applied it on their winning fields. And among first-place category winners, it was the only fungicide used. But when it comes to applying this fungicide to their production acres, these champions ask themselves the same question that all growers do: Do the benefits outweigh the cost?
David Hula of Renwood Farms in Charles City, Virginia, achieved the highest overall yield (385.59 bu/A) at the 2007 NCYC. "Headline is an integral part of Renwood Farms," he says. "If growers are trying to improve yields and generate more revenue, they need to look at a fungicide program and Headline is the best option we have."
Hula and his brother Johnny embraced this product as part of their operating practice after three years of side-by-side corn yield tests across a variety of soil types. "A Headline fungicide application paid for itself and usually gave us quite a bit more in return," says Hula.
In a year when the average Virginia corn yield was below 100 bu/A because of drought, the Hula brothers averaged 160 bu/A on 1,700 acres of corn. This impressive boost is likely due to the improved stress tolerance provided by Headline. In the more than 1,150 on-farm trials conducted across a range of climates and geographies in 2007, the average yield increase in corn ranged from 12 to16 bu/A, while soybean yields increased by an average of 4 to 8 bu/A.
Matthew Cox of Scott City, Missouri, was a finalist in the Ridge Till Irrigated category of this year's NCYC with a yield of 320.87 bu/A. "We really recommend Headline," he says. "We were one of the first to use it in our area. We've used it more and more every year."
It's the disease control and Plant Health benefits, including the control of the gray leaf spot that sometimes affects his fields, which are critical to Cox. "A lot of it is keeping the plant as green as long as possible," he says. "That's where our yield comes from."
Growers report that Headline results in plants that stay greener longer, more upright plants due to hardier stalks and cobs with kernels that extend right to the tip.
"The bigger fill you have, the better yield you have," Cox says.
Husband and wife duo Sam and Chris Santini of Stewartsville, New Jersey, actually used Headline as part of their regular farm practice before they used it on their competitive plots. They've been impressed with the performance of the fungicide on their soybeans for the past several years, and 2007 was the first time they applied it to corn.
"I've had the best yields I've ever had putting Headline on," says Sam. Chris and Sam's yield of 313.73 bu/A topped the A Non-Irrigated category while their yield of 254.37 bu/A was enough for a top-three finish in the A Ridge Till Non-Irrigated category. "I see an advantage since this is the first time I've made over 300 bushels per acre."
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