Severe weather and planting progress are two issues that weigh heavily on the mind of any farmer at the start of the growing season. With a focus on getting the planting process completed, a grower may overlook the impact that planting issues can have later in the season, such as troublesome crop diseases. While crop disease may not be an issue for growers at the beginning of the season, it can often define a grower's success at the end of the year.
In the aftermath of unfavorable weather or delayed planting, crop diseases can quickly take over fields, negatively impacting both crop health and yield potential. In corn and soybean fields, these yield losses can prove to be especially substantial, resulting in 20% to 40% of potential food production loss every year.
Overcoming crop disease and unfavorable conditions
Despite crop disease and unfavorable weather conditions, growers must reach a healthy, high-yielding harvest at the end of each season. To help growers achieve this, Megan Andriankaja, technical marketing manager with BASF, emphasizes the importance for corn and soybean growers to proactively manage the threats of disease.
"Proactive fungicide applications can help growers achieve the ultimate goal of any season, which is healthy plants and high yields," Andriankaja says.
Going beyond disease control, BASF fungicides provide corn and soybean crops with distinct benefits, like increased growth efficiency and stress tolerance, in addition to superior disease control.
Fungicide application provides benefits beyond disease control
While keeping crops disease-free throughout the year should be a top priority for growers, increasing overall crop health is equally vital to reaching maximum yield potential. One of the best ways to prevent plants from being negatively impacted by disease is increasing growth efficiency and stress tolerance. BASF fungicides, like Priaxor fungicide for soybeans, can enhance photosynthesis up to 30% versus untreated crops. This increase in photosynthesis helps soybean crops grow strong and remain disease free in critical development stages.
When crops become subject to severe weather, they often become stressed, negatively impacting photosynthesis and yield potential. By increasing stress tolerance, BASF fungicides help crops remain disease free and strong, despite imperfect growing conditions.
When increased growth efficiency and stress tolerance are paired with first-rate disease control, the results are healthy, consistent yields. In 2012-2014 national on-farm trials, soybeans treated with Priaxor fungicide out yielded untreated crops 92% of the time by an average of 4.5 bushels per acre.
A formidable enemy for corn and soybean diseases
With more than 20,000 different species of fungi that can infect crops, fungicides have proven to be the only effective solution for controlling threatening crop diseases across the country. Each year, more than 18 million U.S. crop acres are treated with fungicides, resulting in farmers earning an average of $14.60 for every $1 invested in fungicides. Andriankaja also notes this return on investment can further help growers achieve maximum yield potential.
"The return on investment with fungicide use not only puts money back in a grower's pocket, but provides them with the opportunity to invest in other methods to grow better crops," Andriankaja says.
The following infographic from BASF guides corn and soybean growers through the diseases their crops may face throughout the season. Although the threat of crop disease looms large every year, growers who prepare by proactively applying fungicides can take back control of their fields, despite the unpredictable aspects of the season.