2011 Fungicide Review

Recommendations and selling strategies for pest disease control in the upcoming growing season will likely reflect a new outlook for many of you. New fungicide preventive treatments, products, label modifications and management practices continue to evolve. With current commodities prices and increasing yield potential, it’s a new climate for the way growers think about this investment in crop protection.

Read on to learn what academic experts, manufacturers and hands-on managers like you believe that fungicides will fit into Midwest corn and soybean production systems in 2011.

Decision Factors in Corn

Midwest disease pathologists agree that it’s easy to use hindsight to gauge where fungicide treatments paid off with return on investment. The fly in the ointment is predicting how much preventive treatments and/or in-season foliar applications increase yields.

“We conducted trials at six different sites that well-represented the different latitudes in our long state, which is almost like three different states,” says Carl Bradley, University of Illinois Extension Plant Pathologist. “Overall, for the past three years, we’ve seen an average 7.58 bushel per acre yield advantage for disease control in corn. Of course, that’s an average. Under high disease pressure, we saw anywhere from a 15-20 bushel per acre yield response. That’s not rocket science when you’re dealing with fungicides.”

Currently, experts like Bradley, consider four primary factors in making corn fungicide decisions. On corn, Bradley advises you to consider:

•  Susceptibility of hybrids to key diseases
– Growers typically select hybrids based on good yield history in their fields, yet some germ plasm may not contain the best disease resistance package. In Northern Illinois, for example, gray leaf spot does not cause much yield drag in corn, while the disease affects the rest of the state. Northern corn leaf blight exists statewide and decreases yields.
•  Amount of residue at planting – Crop rotation and tillage practices play a role in disease control. Continuous corn and reduced tillage contribute to disease pathogens overwintering and creating more pressure to crop yields.
•  Later planting – Sometimes disease risk increases when Mother Nature doesn’t allow growers to plant at optimum spring timing. Under such conditions, fungicide control becomes more important.
•  Fields with history of foliar diseases – Retailers and growers may be aware of fields that historically see disease pressures. Perhaps these fields are protected from wind trees or are in valleys.

“Unfortunately, fungicide control doesn’t lend itself to easy ‘black and white’ decisions,” says Bradley. “Scouting prior to tasseling, revealing the severity of disease pressures and how many multiple disease factors are stacked will determine the economics and when to pull the trigger on foliar applications.”

Decision Factors in Soybeans

When it comes to soybeans, it’s a tougher decision says Alison Robertson, University of Iowa Extension Plant Pathologist.

“In our 2010 soybeans trials, we saw the best response in fields with the most disease pressure, such as frog-eye leaf spot treated with a fungicide like a strobilurin. The opportunity exists to gain magnificent yield response,” says Robertson.

No one really likes the ‘scouting’ word, she acknowledges, yet that’s one of the best ways to make fungicide decisions. We now know more about the crop susceptible diseases, which helps growers make decisions.

“The past three to four years we experienced extremely wet Midwest weather,” Robertson says. “When we look at weather data, it seems we’re getting wetter and wetter with more favorable conditions for disease to develop. Or, we could experience a drought. At this point, it’s just not an exact science.”

Preventive Options

Both Bradley and Robertson agree preventive fungicide treatments for corn and soybeans are gaining traction. With the growing investment in seed, fungicide treatments “are simply a good insurance policy, right up front,” say the two university experts.

In corn, Robertson says their research always shows a good correlation between yield and fungicides that protect against fusarium, pythium, rhizoctonia. And, as growers push to get into the field to plant earlier, the fungicides become increasingly important.

Seeding rates also play into the equation, she says. “With corn, growers will likely want to go with the recommended rates because corn plants don’t compensate for lost seedlings. With soybeans, growers may try to reduce rates because seedlings will branch out to compensate for a lost neighbor and grow more leaves and pods.”

Manufacturer Options

Based on third party statistics and BASF estimates, 11.7 million corn and 10 million soybean acres were treated with preventive/planned and curative/in-season fungicide applications in 2010. Overall, that’s less than 20 percent of US corn and soybeans are treated with foliar fungicides.

However, growers are becoming more educated about foliar fungicide expectations,” says Nick Fassler, Technical Market Manager, BASF Crop Protection. “In 2004, BASF sold no corn and soybean fungicides and that’s changed significantly.”

In addition to Headline fungicide, last year BASF introduced Headline AMP to provide added disease protection and resistance management through two modes of action. “We see Headline technology moving forward in the row crop market. Our yield trials involved grower teams who looked at a more managed program for higher yields vs. a more traditional program. In cases with a good herbicide foundation, good variety selection and added tools such as an insecticide or fungicide treatment, growers maximized the potential for more bushels per acre and saw higher yields.”

New for 2011, BASF offers a Plant Health educational tool to help growers evaluate the disease control and plant health benefits that can result from a fungicide investment. It may be viewed at www.planthealtheducation.com.

Also new from BASF for 2011, Headline Advantage offers growers an opportunity to earn a $100 per gallon rebate on Headline purchases made by March 15 along with savings benefits through Farm Plan offers.

Rex Wichert, Syngenta Fungicide Brand Manager, expects corn fungicide treatments to grow in 2011. “One area we evaluated in 2010 focused on early application of Quadris fungicide applied to corn at the V4 to V8 growth stages.

“This early timing is when the corn plant is determining the maximum size of the ear in terms of length and size around,” he continues. “Protecting the corn from disease at this stage can provide yield and plant performance benefits. Increased stalk strength, better greening and delayed disease progression can result.”

In 150 on-farm trials throughout the Midwest last year, Syngenta evaluated Quadris early applications and saw positive crop health or plant performance response and an average six bushel per acre increase.

“An early application of fungicide, potentially mixed with a herbicide, saves a trip across the field and maximizes value of the fungicide application,” notes Wichert.

For 2011, Syngenta will continue to recommend R1 application timing, the reproductive stage around tasseling. A new label for Quilt Xcel fungicide received limited retailer and grower ability to trial it in 2010. Wichert expects that to change this year.

Quilt Xcel fungicide contains two active ingredients that provide both curative and longer-lasting preventive disease control. Wichert reports over 16 bushels per acre yield gains from the mid-to-late season treatment.

Quadris fungicide remains the Syngenta offering for soybeans. “Soybean fungicide-treated acres continue to gain interest, particularly in the past four years,” says Wichert. “To me, that proves growers feel it adds value.”

Seed Treatment Innovations

Fungicide seed treatment advances for 2011 give retailers another opportunity to enhance growers’ yield potential. The up-front convenience and insurance policy makes this method of disease protection increasingly attractive.

“Seed treatment represents another tool to manage some of those early-season disease pests,” says Tom Schaefer, Monsanto Acceleron Marketing Team Leader. “In corn, Acceleron seed treatment complements our new traits: SmartStax, Genuity, Vt Triple Pro and Vt Double Pro.”

Acceleron for corn contains fungicide with three active ingredients designed to manage key diseases: fusarium, rhizoctonia, below ground pests such as the corn rootworm complex and secondary corn borer.

New in soybeans for 2011, Monsanto will offer Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans with three choices: Untreated seed, Acceleron fungicide or Acceleron, insecticide treated seed.

“Seed treatments are the ‘cradle’ portion of ‘cradle to the grave’ protection,” says Mark Jirak, Syngenta Seedcare Crop Manager. “We’re seeing opportunities to raise the bar with the yield potential of the seeds farmers are putting in the ground by getting plants off to a healthy start.”

Syngenta will offer three seed treatment combinations with enhanced protection in 2011: Avicta Complete Corn, Maxim Quattro for corn and CruiserMaxx Plus for soybeans.

Avicta Complete Corn is a combination of separately registered products that provides Apron XL, Maxim XL and Dynasty fungicide seed treatments or Maxim Quattro fungicide seed treatments, plus Avicta nematicide seed treatment and Cruiser insecticide seed treatment.

Maxim Quattro fungicide for corn combines the active ingredients of Apron XL, Maxim 4FS, and Dynasty with thiabendazole, an active ingredient never-before registered for seed treatment to broaden the disease control spectrum on corn.

CruiserMaxx Plus for soybeans provides a higher rater of Apron XL fungicide treatment to enhance the early-season pythium and phytophthora protection that growers receive.

Retailer Perspectives

Selling fungicides for corn and beans represents an additional business opportunity for MFA-Inc. in Northwest Missouri, says retailer Jeff Meyer who manages the Guildford store.

“Soybean fungicides in my area definitely represent a growing trend,” says Meyer. For the past six years, seed treater equipment has boosted sales for his dealership. “I think growers feel they’re getting a bigger boost or bang for their buck. We treat seed with CruiserMaxx Beans or ApronMaxx.

“With the increasing price of seed beans, the fungicide investment makes sense as an extra insurance policy. The past three to four years brought extremely wet weather, making it tough to get into plant. My growers want to take all the precautions they can to avoid replanting. We’ve seen a boost in growers’ soybean seed population and plant health from fungicide treatments.”

Local side-by-side trials conducted in his area also add credibility, allowing both the sales force and growers to learn the value proposition.

Meyer adds, “I personally think fungicide treatment is a benefit no matter what type of farming operation; what type of soil, irrigated, non-irrigated, corn or beans.”

Retailer Dan Mogged, VanHorn, Inc., finds fungicides a tougher sell in his Cerro Gordo, IL, trade area. “Our corn yields here in Central Illinois are traditionally so good – 200-plus bushels per acre -that many growers just don’t want to make the extra investment,” he says.

With the dealership’s recent investment in seed treater equipment, Mogged sees opportunity. “I think we’ll grow from around 5 percent of soybean seed treated last year to 50 percent or more this year.”

At Panhandle Coop, Scottsbluff, NE, Cody Loyd reports, “Even though fungicides may not show a great yield boost each year, the plant health piece makes it a good investment. We advise growers to budget annually for fungicides.”

Leave a Reply

Fungicides Stories

FungicidesSudden Death Syndrome, Brown Stem Rot Reported In Indiana Soybeans
September 3, 2014
Farmers and retailers should be watching for symptoms of these two diseases over the next few weeks as they are best managed through preventative methods. Read More
FungicidesResearchers Target Soybean Disease With Genetic Resistance Study
August 6, 2014
University of Illinois researchers will share new information on controlling sudden death syndrome through genetic resistance at this year's Agronomy Day. Read More
Soybean field
FungicidesValent Launches New Seed Protection Fungicide For Soybeans
July 16, 2014
The INTEGO SUITE System contains the first new, novel seed protection fungicide chemistry registered in 30 years by the EPA for protection against Pythium and Phytophthora. Read More
FungicidesNew Players May Make Pest Headlines In Corn, Soybean
April 1, 2014
The usual insects and diseases took a bit of a break in 2013, but other culprits surfaced — and could return. Read More

Trending Articles

Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
The deadline to vote for the 2014 CropLife IRON Product of the Year is October 31. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
CropLife 100CHS To Build $3 Billion Fertilizer Plant In North Dakota
September 5, 2014
The fertilizer plant in Spiritwood will be the single largest investment in CHS history, as well as the single largest private investment project ever undertaken in North Dakota. Read More

Latest News

InsecticidesValent U.S.A., MGK Form Marketing Agreement
October 24, 2014
Valent has formed an agreement with Minneapolis-based MGK to manage the marketing and sales of MGK’s crop protection line of insect control products within the U.S. beginning April 1, 2015. Read More
StewardshipFlorida’s 4R Advocate Keeps Improving
October 24, 2014
Florida farmer Alan Jones uses the 4R principles of nutrient stewardship as the core of his fertility program, which allows him to maximize production and keep costs in check. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Named One Of The World’s Best Multinational …
October 23, 2014
Monsanto ranked No. 8 in the world’s largest annual study of workplace excellence that identifies the top 25 best multinational companies in terms of workplace culture. Read More
Crop InputsArysta Hires Former Agri-Chem, CPS Employee For Delta S…
October 23, 2014
New Territory Sales Manager Mark Peel’s primary role will focus on working with growers regarding fungicides in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Announces Appointments In Plant Food Division
October 22, 2014
GROWMARK, Inc. has announced the three key staff changes in its Plant Food Division. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Appoints New VP Of Finance And Risk Management
October 22, 2014
Wade Mittelstadt has been named GROWMARK Vice President, Financial and Risk Mangement, effective December 1, 2014. Read More
FungicidesEPA Approves BASF In-Furrow Corn Fungicide
October 22, 2014
Field trials show Xanthion In-furrow fungicide provides more rapid emergence, extended residual control and improved seedling health than untreated crops. Read More
EquipmentAgraScout App Available At No Cost To Universities
October 21, 2014
AgraScout, a fast and easy to use mobile crop scouting app, is now available at no cost to University students, Read More
LegislationNew Farm Bill Program To Provide Relief To Farmers Affe…
October 21, 2014
The USDA has implemented a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought. Read More
ManagementGreenfield Scholars Program Aims To Sustain Agronomy Wo…
October 21, 2014
The program encourages talented students to study agronomy, crop and soil sciences while cultivating networks to develop the necessary workforce to sustain the profession. Read More
Paul SchrimpfPrecision Ag: Taking It To The Hill
October 21, 2014
A new coalition took the good news message of precision agriculture to Washington, DC, last month. Read More
ManagementUSDA Awards $18 Million In Small Business Research Gran…
October 21, 2014
The grants will provide high quality, advanced research and development that will lead to technological innovations and solutions for American agriculture. Read More
FertilizerCF Industries Terminates Merger Discussions With Yara I…
October 21, 2014
CF Industries Holdings and Yara International have terminated their discussions regarding a potential merger of equals transaction. Read More
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Ranked A Top 10 Biotech Employer For Third tim…
October 20, 2014
Syngenta ranked in the top 10 among the world’s top biotech employers, according to an annual survey conducted by Science magazine. Read More
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Break Ground For New Facility At Kennebec
October 20, 2014
Wheat Growers has broke ground for a state-of-the-art shuttle loader grain handling, fertilizer and agronomy facility in Kennebec, SD. Read More
FertilizerVerdesian Life Sciences Signs Agreement With Los Alamos…
October 20, 2014
Verdesian Life Sciences has signed a licensing agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory to develop and market LANL’s latest nitrogen enhancement technology for plants. Read More
MicronutrientsStoller Group Announces Groundbreaking At New Office Bu…
October 20, 2014
Jerry Stoller, founder and president of Stoller Group, announced the groundbreaking at the site of the company’s future headquarters in Read More
Crop InputsBioSafe Systems Opens New Production Facility In Nevada
October 20, 2014
BioSafe Systems has completed construction of a state-of-art production facility in Sparks, NV, for its line of activated peroxygen products. Read More