Across Iowa this past week, rain, hail and wind have damaged corn and soybean acres leaving many growers searching for answers. Because of these weather conditions putting stress on corn and soybeans, the crops will be more vulnerable when exposed to diseases moving in throughout the rest of the 2014 growing season. Wet conditions are a breeding ground for soil-borne diseases. Whenever disease is present, plants have to compete for nutrients, negatively affecting yield potential.
"Severe weather such as hail storms or heavy rains can put stress on crops. When crops are stressed, they have less energy to fight off troublesome diseases," says Megan Andriankaja, technical market specialist with BASF Crop Protection.
If severe weather like some parts of Iowa have had this past week continues across the state, it will lead to a challenging growing season ahead, she adds.
Take charge of these stress-affected fields
For growers whose crops have been impacted by severe weather, the first step is to assess fields to determine the extent of damage, advises Andriankaja. If your fields are flooded, consider having your crop insurance agent provide a recommendation. While there is not much to do in a total-loss situation, less severe damage can be remedied in a few different ways.
Growers should assess all potential best management practices to reduce any stress to crop. This includes strategies that will help protect your crops throughout the rest of the season, including crop scouting and proactively applying a fungicide to your corn or soybeans, she says.
"Research shows that applying a BASF fungicide offers plant health benefits and can help protect plants from many diseases before they are able to cause issues," says Andriankaja. "Crops will benefit from fungicide applications by having better utilization of nitrogen fertilizer as well as conduct efficient photosynthesis – this combination increases yield potential."
How applying foliar fungicides can help corn
As growers are identifying ways to overcome weather challenges, they should keep in mind severe weather can shorten growing seasons and negatively affect photosynthesis in crops. This also means the most critical growth stages of crops will happen during the hottest part of the summer – when diseases thrive.
Proactive applications of BASF fungicides provide disease control and Plant Health benefits, which include improved photosynthesis, allowing plants to create more energy for use in the critical growth stages and reproductive stages for crops. To learn more how a fungicide can help you protect your investments and maximize your yields this year, click here.