NEW ORLEANS – Root, stem and foliar diseases, as well as stressful environmental conditions, are ongoing threats to yield potential – and “Cleaner, Greener” can provide the protection needed.
Tyler Harp, Head of Insecticide/Fungicide Technology Products at Syngenta, said: “We know that in some cases, some of the diseases we experience today, such as tar spot and others, can reduce corn yields by as much as 60% .”
“In 2022, rainfall and supply chain issues are delaying planting of corn and soybeans. This makes plants more susceptible to disease in the early growth stages and throughout the season. Additionally, much of the U.S. experiences extreme heat stress in the summer, Again making crops more vulnerable to abiotic stress.”
How can growers better manage these issues and maintain their yield potential?
harp: It’s all about protecting yield and harvestability in two ways – cleaner and greener. Cleaner because it’s free of diseases that use fungicides that reduce yields; greener because it’s a more robust, healthier crop that’s better able to withstand abiotic stresses like heat and drought.
So, I’m talking about plant health benefits that provide healthier, more productive crops. When using Syngenta plant health fungicides such as the Miravis brand, you will often see prolonged greening in the field.
Even in fields with low disease pressure, plant health benefits such as greening can translate into higher yield potential for corn and soybeans. There are abiotic stress management components that continue to maintain yield.
What did the fungicide test reveal?
harp: In the 2020 results for plots with less than 5 percent disease severity, untreated soybeans averaged 68.9 bushels per acre and soybeans treated with Miravis Top fungicide averaged 81.2 bushels per acre.
Often, the result is a significant yield increase that can add value to the grower and the return on investment can be very substantial.
We know that products like Miravis and Trivapro maintain yields not only through disease control, but also through the management of abiotic stresses (heat and drought).
What are the advantages of ‘greener’ plants?
harp: Greener means healthier, more efficient and productive crops, with greener leaves providing more light and more light energy. Greener also means higher water and nutrient use efficiency.
In addition, being greener also improves harvest efficiency and quality. This means healthier and higher quality crops and healthier crops providing more profitable harvests.
All three concepts combined work in parallel with the use of Syngenta plant health fungicides to allow growers to maximize yields.
What’s the science behind “greener, cleaner”?
harp: Capture more light energy through greener leaves. Some of the studies we’ve done in the lab clearly show that when Adepidyn technology (one of the components of our Miravis brand) is applied to soybeans under simulated drought conditions, the plants are better able to cope with those conditions and go on to have more leaves in the photochemistry.
Photochemistry is the light energy in the leaf from sunlight that allows the leaf to continue producing more energy. Thus, thanks to the Adepidyn technology plant health fungicide, the leaves use energy more efficiently in the presence of stress.
Greener plants use water more efficiently. The plant health benefits of Adepidyn technology help plants better conserve water by reducing transpiration rates while maintaining high levels of photosynthesis.
Do healthier crops have an impact on efficiency and yield?
harp: Yes, when we compare treated and untreated crops, we know that those treated corn plants have healthier stems. When you have a lot of disease and a lot of abiotic stress, the leaves suck the starch out of the stem and compromise the integrity of the stem.
So not only are we getting higher yields in the treated plots compared to untreated plots, but we also have less lodging and we have healthier stems which allows the combine to be more productive. Get into the field quickly and have a certain harvesting efficiency.
When we did some experiments, we found that less accommodation allowed us to move across the field at nearly 2 miles per hour, saving $23 per acre.
It’s exciting when you think about the value and benefits these products can bring to growers, not only by protecting against diseases that can reduce yields, but also by maintaining yields in the face of abiotic stresses like drought and heat.
Tar spots were reported in the Midwest. What advice do you have for farmers to manage it?
harp: If you have tar spots in your area and there are environmental conditions conducive to tar spots, we recommend using a fungicide even if it is late vegetative or R1 or R2.
In our land, we see the benefits of both applications. Most of the heavy lifting is done by the first application. We saved 30 bushels from the first application, and we probably gained 8 to 10 more bushels when we did the second application.
The first application is the most important. Late plant growth to R1 seems to be the best time to apply, and there are tools like the University of Wisconsin’s Tarspotter app.
Tarspotter uses GPS coordinates to determine whether weather is conducive to the development of scorch spot fungus during corn flowering in a particular field. The models in the app use local weather collected via the Internet to predict favorable conditions for most corn-growing regions. Based on these forecasts and crop phenology, a site-specific risk forecast is generated.
Make no mistake, the inoculum is in the field, and once the weather conditions become favorable, you’ll get tar spots.
The more preventative you are with your fungicide, the more you keep yields and the more value you will get from that fungicide.