Ensuring crops are stress tolerant and disease free can help minimize risk and optimize yields, and it begins as soon as crops are planted. Scouting fields during early crop emergence is a must in order to diagnose and potentially treat early diseases and insect pest issues. Problematic diseases can change from season to season with disease pressures varying depending on the region and weather patterns.
For much of the Corn Belt, the cool, wet weather has the potential to bring about early-season fungal pathogens as well as insect issues. While there is no easy way of knowing what the coming months will bring, there are practices you can implement to help your growers better understand their crops.
Spend time with the crop.
“Scouting isn’t done behind a windshield. The best way to scout for pest issues is to walk your fields and spend time with your crop,” says BASF Technical Marketing Agronomist, Jeremy Hogan. It’s important to note that the root of early-season pest issues often lies belowground. If your grower’s stand count or population isn’t what they expected it to be, take time with them to dig up areas of the field that are missing plants to find out where the problem originated. Be sure to put on your detective hat and investigate whether the issue was pest related or whether it was tied back to poor seed bed preparation or possibly the planter pass.
Track weather patterns and monitor surrounding areas.
To stay ahead of potential yield robbers, it’s important to track weather patterns in your grower’s area and the area around you to see if there is weather data that suggests when and where severe insect and disease outbreaks could develop. Check with your network to see what is happening south of and around your growers. If a certain pest is nearby, it’s likely coming their way.
Understand the environment.
Different environmental conditions drive different diseases. Gray leaf spot, for example, thrives in warm, humid conditions. Slightly cooler weather in northern geographies has the potential to bring about northern corn leaf blight. Understanding what environmental conditions your grower’s fields are exposed to—and what potential diseases that might bring about—can help you identify disease risk and what you can do to protect their crop.
Protect with Plant Health fungicide applications.
Above all else, encourage your grower to stick to their plan. Consider BASF’s wide range of Plant Health fungicides, which includes Priaxor® fungicide and Headline AMP® fungicide, as part of your grower’s management plan this season. In addition to disease control, these fungicides deliver proven Plant Health benefits by helping protect your crop from the stresses of the season—whether from disease and/or adverse environmental conditions—allowing your crop to optimize its growth efficiency and focus on yield. BASF Plant Health products also offer the mitigation of environmental stresses like heat, drought and frost, and even minimize your crop’s response to physical damage like hail or machinery. With a Plant Health fungicide application, your grower’s crop can focus on optimizing growth efficiency and what matters most: yield.
Don’t wait until you see disease in your grower’s field. Be proactive and ask your customers to consider adding a BASF Plant Health application. Discuss these scouting tips with your grower and help identify what other proactive steps they can take to become a student of their crop this season.
To learn more about BASF’s Plant Health products, visit AgProducts.BASF.com.
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Headline AMP and Priaxor are registered trademarks of BASF.