Enhancing plant physiology: Broad-spectrum disease control

Published on: 12:23PM Aug 07, 2009
Enhancing Plant Physiology
Deciding on a fungicide that offers broad-spectrum disease control is vital. Foliar diseases can eat away at plant yield, with some capable of reducing yield up to 40 percent. This alarming statistic makes it vital to use a fungicide with broad-spectrum activity that ensures the crop is protected regardless of the fungal pathogens present in the field. Azoxystrobin is part of the strobilurin family, the only fungicide group that controls fungi in all four classes of fungi. 
Often, disease control is considered a secondary concern to other pests, but the impact to your crop can be significant. For instance, although disease control has not historically been an area of great concern, gray leaf spot is a disease that can greatly impact profitability. According to The Ohio State University and Purdue University Extension partnership newsletter “Ag Answers”, gray leaf spot can cause up to a 50 percent yield loss in corn, depending on the level of disease present. Additional data from Iowa State University suggests even greater losses of up to 69 percent.
Many times, the onset of disease can occur before it is visible by the naked eye. Early infections can arise in the plant before a fungicide has been applied. Usually, disease does not present itself until sometime after tasseling, but infections that attack plants early can cause early-leaf death and even premature death to the plant. Fungicides with only a protective activity will not cure infections that have already begun. This is why fungicides that combine both preventive and curative active ingredients in one product are so effective. The curative component (propiconazole) will stop existing infections and the preventive component (azoxystrobin) will provide further protection of the crop canopy. Understanding what a fungicide will and will not do is critical in control diseases.  
This photo demonstrates the advantage of broad-spectrum disease control, treated leaves (left) vs. untreated (right).