Make The Case For Fungicides In 2014

Coming off 2012 and the worst drought many in the Corn Belt had ever witnessed, growers and dealers wondered what 2013 might hold for disease pressure. “Midwest geographies started out very wet, but by July the rain had shut off, leaving growers really debating whether to invest in a fungicide or not,” describes Andrew Fisher, commercial product lead for fungicides at Syngenta.  The 2014 season will pose a similar problem for producers, though crop prices, not weather, may be the deciding factor.

Chemical companies stand ready with a host of new products to address disease and to protect and improve yields. It will be up to dealers to guide their customers in planning fungicide programs.

Single Active Ingredients

With two million acres treated, 2013 saw the successful launch of DuPont’s new strobilurin fungicide Aproach (picoxystrobin), targeted for soybeans, corn and cereals. “Growers have really been able to see improved yield and quality themselves,” says Todd Robran, DuPont fungicide portfolio manager.

The product intro was particularly timely as many soybean producers were faced with white mold problems, in some cases severe outbreaks. Robran says the normal application time for Aproach on soybeans would be the R3 stage, but if growers need to target white mold, he recommends they move up the treatment, to the R2 stage.

The DuPont team carefully watched how Aproach did in corn, and they were encouraged by better-than-anticipated performance in terms of improving the yield, quality and harvestability of the crop. Robran notes that DuPont has the opportunity to work closely with Pioneer to help match up Aproach with the hybrids that could benefit the most from a foliar application, so growers can see a “nice return on that investment.”

Northern Corn Leaf Blight
Northern corn leaf blight is one disease targeted by DuPont’s Aproach.

Disease-wise, Robran says Aproach offered good control of three main problems: Gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight and rust.

Aproach is applied at the V1 (tassel) to R1 stage on corn, to offer the most protection of leaves in the uppermost part of the corn canopy as well as all the way down to the ear leaf. Protecting those leaves leads to improved grain fill, test weight and kernel depth, says Robran.

Some growers looking to more intensively manage their corn acres and push yields have added an additional application at the V5 stage (when the plant is 12 to 16 inches tall). “That will keep early season disease inoculum in check and pick up foliar health benefits,” says Robran.

New Importance Of Premixes

With limited active ingredients available, chemical companies are taking to combining effective fungicides. For 2014, DuPont has launched Aproach Prima, which adds the triazole cyproconazole to picoxystrobin in a premix. Robran says the triazole will be especially valuable in the mid-South, where it has been used “very sparingly” so far and where soybean growers are facing increased disease pressure from some strobilurin-resistant strains of frog eye leaf spot.

Frog eye leaf spot on soybean
Soybean growers are facing pressure from strobilurin-resistant strains of frog eye leaf spot.

In the Midwest, Aproach Prima is especially designed for growers aiming to maximize yields as well as producers of higher-value corn, including seed corn and white, waxy and food grade hybrids — “crops where yield and quality are going to be of tantamount importance,” says Robran.

With the frogeye leafspot problem accelerating, 2013 was a good time for the first widespread sales of Syngenta’s newcomer Quadris Top SB, a premix of azoxystrobin and difenoconazole. Fisher sees the resistance spreading not only across the South but also into the southern Midwest. “Strobilurin chemistries across the board just aren’t controlling the disease,” he says. “With that, Quadris Top SB was an outstanding fit — and the brand actually catapulted into a very good sales year.” Syngenta’s forecasts show quite a few geographies are planning to increase use of the product even more in 2014.

Foliar application on row crops is actually a new approach for this particular strobilurin/triazole combination. It’s previously been used as a seed treatment and as a foliar treatment in some vegetables and specialty crops.

Fisher points out Quadris Top SB not only controls many diseases but helps crops deal with stresses, generating an improved “plant health” effect. For instance, growers have seen a four to eight bushel per acre yield increase in soybeans. Fisher says “that’s a really good return on investment — you’re looking at a 3:1 or 4:1 return vs. what they’re paying for the fungicide.”

January 1 was the day MANA officially began marketing its new fungicide Custodia, the first premix available for azoxystrobin and tebuconazole.

“The reason we’re excited about new Custodia is that we’ve taken two systemic products that complement each other for an end result of heavy-hitting disease control for use on multiple crops,” says Matt Bradley, Custodia brand leader. “Both active ingredients in the formulation provide qualities including speed of disease knockdown which results in longer protection. It also reduces or eliminates the need for an additional fungicide applications during the season.

MANA’s new offering delivers curative and preventative control on a wide array of diseases including Cercospora on soybeans, Grey leaf spot on corn and stripe rust and leaf spot on wheat.

According to Bradley, Custodia first and foremost is designed to control diseases. In addition, he says data shows that Custodia can optimizes yield during periods when non-optimal photosynthesis periods occur. “This supports MANA’s message that this new fungicide can help drive yield increases and stalk health up until harvest,” says Bradley.

Specific to resistance management, Bradley says “with few new active ingredients coming to the marketplace, growers need to be very cognizant of stewardship practices that keep fungicide chemistry in rotation in order to maintain product viability for years to come.”

Another premix that promises more systemic action than other fungicides is Syngenta’s Quilt Xcel, a combination of azoxystrobin and propiconazole, which saw its first year of widespread use in 2013. Fisher says with the activity, new leaves and plant parts are protected as the crop grows.

Quilt Xcel also protects plants from environmental stresses, allowing them to retain more moisture. In corn, it’s also helped produce longer ears, extended grain fill and improved harvestability. “The plant is not cannibalizing the starches within the stalk, keeping it healthier,” Fisher explains.

In 2014, BASF expects additional crop registrations for Priaxor, a premix containing pyraclostrobin — the same active ingredient as the company’s star performer Headline — and fluxapyroxad (Xemium fungicide), says Brianne Reeves, BASF technical marketing specialist, plant health fungicides. New uses include in-furrow use for soybeans as well as sorghum and sugarcane. In corn, Priaxor is applied pre-tassel to complement a post-tassel application of Headline AMP. Also expected is registration for Sercadis fungicide in rice.

Making The Sale

These product line-ups are impressive, but will your customers see the value? While five years of higher commodity prices may have encouraged growers to include fungicides in their crop protection programs, recent price drops may make customers pause. MANA’s Bradley says his team is working to help grower-customers better understand how financial conditions may impact crop protection decisions this coming year. “We’ve found that fungicide applications are usually the easiest of all crop inputs for growers to ‘drop out’ or exclude from their overall crop protection programs,” he says.

Bradley points out that growers have been willing to spend money on high-priced genetics and expensive seed treatment. If growers plan to spend that much money for these related inputs, it only makes sense that they need to understand a hybrid or variety’s sensitivity to disease,” he says. Bradley says budgeting for a fungicide application usually pays for itself and should be an annual consideration.

Robran says it’s important for dealers to sit down with their growers to help position the foliar fungicides with them. “Look at less of a one size fits all approach where you go in and treat every acre and more of a strategic approach where you treat the acres that are going to benefit the most from a foliar application,” he explains. “Those may be acres in continuous corn, with higher value hybrids, with more narrow-row spacing, or those planted to a corn hybrid or soybean variety that would just benefit from a little more disease protection.”

Syngenta’s Fisher had an interesting point: “I would remind all of us that in 2009 when the fungicide market was just starting to grow in the Midwest, the corn price in ROI modeling was $4.25 per bushel — which is very similar to where it is today. Bottom line, even at $4.25 corn, a fungicide like Quilt Xcel still delivers a grower a 3:1 or 4:1 ROI. So it’s a very good investment.

“I would actually say at $4.25 corn it’s more important to maintain that ROI than when those corn prices are at $6,” he says.

MANA’s Bradley would add that retailers and crop consultants serve a critical role in providing growers with accurate information for how and when to adopt fungicides onto their crops. “Grower interpretation of how best to use a fungicide to their advantage is an ongoing educational process. Solid recommendations from retailers and consultants is at the core of grower success and return-on-investment from relying on these kinds of input,” he explains.

Leave a Reply

One comment on “Make The Case For Fungicides In 2014

  1. In the Jan 2013 issue of Vegetable Growers News a researcher at the Beltsville Maryland Research said “We use no fumigants and no fungicides and our program is known for disease resistance. the soils in our fields have a natural population of soil microbes.” they do not kill off the benefical microbes by using fungicides. e have many growers who have not used methyl bromide in years.

Fungicides Stories

Winter Wheat
FungicidesSyngenta Receives Approval For Fungicide ADEPIDYN In Argentina
November 15, 2016
Syngenta has announced that MIRAVIS Duo, a combination of ADEPIDYN and difenoconazole, has been approved by SENASA (regulatory authority in Read More
Topguard premix fungicide
FungicidesFMC Launches New Topguard EQ Fungicide Premix
November 10, 2016
FMC Corp. announces the launch of a new fungicide premix called Topguard EQ fungicide that provides long-lasting disease control and Read More
Soybean Closeup
FungicidesFMC Begins Registration Process For New Fungicide Active Ingredient
October 19, 2016
FMC Agricultural Solutions has begun the joint U.S. EPA and Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency registration process for bixafen, a new Read More
Soybean Field
FungicidesSyngenta Launches Interactive Tools For Vibrance Seed Treatment Fungicide
August 30, 2016
As part of the ongoing commitment to provide growers and retailers with the most current crop protection products and agronomic Read More
Trending Articles
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsanto Merger
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
STS16 2017
SprayersHagie Manufacturing Releases 2017 STS16 Sprayer To Market
November 16, 2016
Hagie Manufacturing LLC’s largest full season applicator is now available with enhancements for the 2017 model year. Hagie is officially Read More
Latest News
Ryan Bartlett
Crop InputsCompass Minerals Appoints Vice President, Innovation An…
December 8, 2016
Ryan Bartlett, Ph.D., has joined Compass Minerals as vice president, innovation and product development. Dr. Bartlett will be responsible for Read More
HerbicidesHerbicides 2017: New Cropping Systems Set For Debut
December 7, 2016
Herbicide-resistant weed are inching ever-closer to a potentially frightening saturation point here in the U.S. Heading into 2016, USDA planting Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires Michigan Ag Retailer
December 7, 2016
Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed and nutritional Read More
Fertilizer storage The Andersons
CropLife 1002016 Fertilizer Report: Another Really Rough Year For A…
December 7, 2016
In many ways, the fertilizer category cannot seem to catch a break. During the early part of the 2010s decade, Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Winter wheat
HerbicidesTalinor Herbicide Approved For Wheat And Barley
December 7, 2016
Talinor herbicide from Syngenta has received federal registration from the U.S. EPA, giving wheat and barley growers a new option Read More
Forage Sorghum
UncategorizedMilestone Achievement Continues For Dow AgroSciences, A…
December 7, 2016
New and innovative forage products are on the horizon driven by continued collaboration between Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
HerbicidesNew WSSA Factsheet Explores Weed Seeds And Their Longev…
December 7, 2016
Did you know some weed seeds can lie dormant in the soil for more than a century and then sprout Read More
Crop InputsARA 2016: 5 Developments Worth Monitoring Into 2017
December 6, 2016
You can pretty much set your watch to it (do people even still wear watches? I know I do…but I’m Read More
Tim McCardle, ARA Chairman
CropLife 100BRANDT COO Named ARA Chairman
December 5, 2016
BRANDT EVP and Chief Operating Officer Tim McArdle has been named chairman of the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) during a Read More
Crop InputsWilbur-Ellis Receives ResponsibleAg Certification At Mo…
December 5, 2016
Wilbur-Ellis Co., a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution of crop protection products, announces the ResponsibleAg certification Read More
Young Corn Closeup
Eric SfiligojThe Read On 2017 For Agricultural Fortunes Is Anybody’s…
December 5, 2016
As I (and others) have written in recent months, the nation has just experienced one of the most offbeat election Read More
Acceleron B-300 seed coating
Crop InputsThe BioAg Alliance Launches New Yield-Boosting Microbia…
December 5, 2016
As part of their commitment to develop and commercialize innovative microbial solutions for farmers through The BioAg Alliance, Monsanto Co. Read More
ManagementCorn and soy planting update; Takeaways from Climate Co…
December 2, 2016
AgriBusiness Global Editor Dave Frabotta Joins Paul Schrimpf for a discussion of global corn and soybean planting trends, and a Read More
Radish cover crop taproot
Crop InputsSoil Health Institute, Datu Research Receive Grant To E…
December 1, 2016
The Soil Health Institute (SHI) and Datu Research have announced a $626,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to quantify the Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
ManagementAg Industry Comes Together To Address Climate Change
December 1, 2016
Addressing climate change — and more specifically, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture — can only be achieved through collective Read More
Young soybean field
HerbicidesLiquid Formulation Valor EZ Herbicide Available For 201…
December 1, 2016
Valent U.S.A. Corp. has released Valor EZ; a liquid formulation of the company’s leading herbicide, Valor. Named Valor EZ Herbicide Read More