Exercising Your Crop

Published on: 11:18AM Oct 18, 2011

Eric Tedford

We all know that exercise is good for us; staying active and eating healthy can help reduce the stressors of everyday life. More importantly, these practices offer more than just the results you see in the mirror; they provide physiological benefits as well – like heart health and increased energy that help our bodies run more efficiently to combat unwanted stress.

Corn and soybean plants aren’t too different. They can get stressed too, and this season the weather has definitely made things stressful. Delayed planting due to heavy rains, wet soil and extreme hot and dry conditions in the summer did not always make it easy for the plants to stay healthy.

Why? A seed planted in wet soil is more likely to be adversely affected by fungi and insects that thrive under wet conditions. In addition, if the soil is too wet, the plant might not develop a good root system, which is essential in a hot, dry summer when roots need to reach deeper for water.

Sure, you know that applying a fungicide controls diseases, but did you also know that strobilurin fungicides can have plant physiological benefits that can help you see an increase in yield? Strobilurin fungicides can improve plant growth by improving carbon dioxide absorption; increase water use efficiency, resulting in more crop growth; and optimize yields by extending grain and pod fill. Overall, strobilurin fungicides can improve the health of the plant.

So after you’ve finished harvest and calculated this year’s yield and are taking a jog on your treadmill this winter, think about whether you’ve maximized your yield to its fullest. Did your products work for you? They may have controlled diseases that cropped up, but did they help plants cope with season stressors?

Eric Tedford, Fungicide Technical Brand Asset Lead for Syngenta, provides technical leadership for the development of fungicides. His experience includes fungicide research and development for field crops, development of postharvest fungicides, and global technical development of fungicides. He holds bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees in plant pathology from the University of Massachusetts, Clemson University, and the University of California (Davis), respectively.