Defining Plant HealthPosted in: Farming By BASF AgSolutions June 1 2009
Research confirms plant health benefits of HEADLINE fungicide
Growers have come to appreciate the disease control HEADLINE® fungicide provides. Now, research is demonstrating that there is more to HEADLINE than disease control – it’s also delivering significant plant health benefits.
In a nutshell, plant health is about optimizing the health and productivity of plants so growers can achieve the maximum yield and quality potential of their crop. How does it work? Plant health means looking past traditional yield generation and focusing more on how a plant’s physiology contributes to yield and quality, rather than relying exclusively on factors like crop genetics and fertility for a boost.
There’s more to HEADLINE than excellent disease control
BASF researchers have identified three specific ways in which HEADLINE triggers the plant health benefits of increased yield and improved quality.
First, disease control is the foundation of plant health. Inhibiting disease from taking hold with a preventative HEADLINE application allows the crop to focus its energy on yield and quality generation. This applies to visual foliar diseases, which have an obvious impact on plant health, and also to low-level, sub-clinical diseases, which may not show symptoms but can ultimately result in a detrimental impact on yield.
Second, by controlling foliar diseases, thus protecting the plant’s leaves, a growth efficiency benefit can be realized. Because leaves are the yield-generating machines of the plant, protecting them from disease is critical. This protection allows for more carbon, or stored energy, to be used for plant growth and yield generation rather than being lost in respiration. In field crops, an increase in biomass often results in increased yield because more biomass translates into more photosynthetic area, more carbon fixation and ultimately more yield.
Finally, controlling disease also helps improve a plant’s ability to tolerate stress. BASF researchers have monitored plant health effects related to the tolerance of drought, effects of
heat and cold stresses. They’ve observed that plants treated with HEADLINE produce less ethylene, the plant’s stress hormone, which induces premature ripening. A reduction in
ethylene production means plants are more resilient to stress, stay greener longer, contributing to maximum yield generation.
The numbers speak for themselves
Collected from over one-quarter of a million trial acres across North America, the plant health benefits of HEADLINE are measuring up. In the U.S. alone, more than 1200 on-farm trials with HEADLINE-treated corn produced an average increase of 12 to 16 bu/ac.
In Canada, BASF researchers are also conducting field scale trials with HEADLINE on corn, field peas, soybeans, edible and dry beans, cereals and lentils. In field peas, for example, grower-applied trials conducted from 2003 to 2008 consistently showed an 11 per cent yield advantage when HEADLINE was applied compared to an untreated check. Average yields were also improved by 9 per cent in lentils and 10 per cent in wheat. But plant health is not just about yield – many of these trials also demonstrated additional benefits. Growers and BASF researchers have also observed stronger, more upright stems, larger and fuller pods, improved tolerance to drought and effects of hail, increased stand ability and, hence, improved harvestability.
Bernie Thille from Rosthern, Saskatchewan, was one pea grower who observed plant health benefits from HEADLINE firsthand. “[HEADLINE] definitely made a difference. The standability was probably six inches taller where it was sprayed versus not sprayed, so you could see the line.”
For growers, using HEADLINE to stop disease before it takes hold means setting your crop up for optimal plant health, yield and quality success.
For more information contact your local BASF Business Representative or visit AgSolutions® by BASF at www.agsolutions.ca/planthealth or call 1-877-371-BASF (2273).
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