December 05, 2023

Fungicides, seed treatments help protect plants from pests, diseases

SEYMOUR, Ill. — Fungicide applications are a preventative measure that need to occur before a plant has significant infection.

“We can see when weeds germinate or bugs come in, but for diseases you can’t see it until it is entrenched,” said Gery Welker, BASF technical service representative.

“Southern rust is in Georgia, so with one good weather event that starts in the Gulf and blows up to the Midwest, we could end up with southern rust,” said Welker during the BASF Showcase Plot tour.

Tar spot was discovered in 2015 in Illinois and Indiana.

“In 2016 and 2017 not much happened, and in 2018 it kind of hurt,” Welker said. “In 2019, if you didn’t treat, it was devastating, and 2021 was probably the worst year.”

Almost anywhere corn is grown, Welker said, there is tar spot.

“I expect tar spot is going to rear its ugly head in Indiana,” he said. “We’ve got lots of irrigators running and those guys get tar spot pretty much every year.”

When plants have a lot of stress, they respond with ethylene production.

“It makes the plant hurry up — the stomata closes and respiration slows down, which hastens maturity,” Welker said.

“With Headline products, we reduce the amount of ethylene production and keep the plant alive, so when we get stress relief, the plant takes off again.”

With 200 trials comparing Revytek fungicide to competitors, Welker said, this product had a 77% win against the competition.

“It has a 93% win against untreated soybeans,” he said.

“BASF is the largest seed treatment company in North America,” said Nick Tinsley, BASF technical field representative.

Soybean cyst nematodes are a significant problem for soybean growers.

“Every year, we lose 100 million bushels of soybean yield to SCN,” Tinsley said.

“People expect SCN to cause stunting and yellowing, but most SCN fields look healthy in appearance because in most cases SCN causes yield losses through pod abortion,” he said. “A bean plant with fewer pods isn’t going to look less tall.”

BASF is encouraging farmers to sample their fields for SCN.

“From 780 samples during the last two years, the range is from zero SCN detected to 5,000 nematode eggs in one cup of soil,” Tinsley said.

“On average, there are 2,600 eggs per 100 cc of soil and the threshold is around 500 eggs, so we’re five times above threshold.”

ILeVO seed treatment can help with both SCN and sudden death syndrome.

“ILeVO is the only product providing a significant reduction in the amount of female reproduction of soybean cyst nematodes,” Tinsley said.

“And ILeVO has provided an excellent level of control against SDS on average over the past three years, 4.5 bushel yield advantage over a base treatment.”

Poncho VOTiVO adds another mode of action against nematodes.

“The bacteria will colonize the root tips and grow with the plant to mask the plant from nematodes,” Tinsley said.

“This makes it difficult for nematodes to bind to the root tips and infect tips, which provides an excellent best-in-class insecticide and pick up extra nematode protection.”

One of the newest innovations BASF is bringing to market is the corn herbicide Surtain.

“One of the biggest problems farmers face today from a crop protection standpoint is resistance,” said Andrea Smith, BASF PDP technical service representative. “Surtain is a residual herbicide that is formulated to provide an alternative solution.”

“The most value with Surtain is getting it down on the ground as early as possible to try to prevent weed emergence,” said Mike Probst, BASF technical service representative. “You want to make it as easy as possible to control any weeds that come through and you’re going to do that by starting out with a really good residual.”

“Surtain is the first solid encapsulation product that we are bringing to market,” Smith said. “When the liquid touches the soil, the capsule dries and as it dries it cracks open and seeps into the soil to give you residual control for weeks to come.”

The standard use rate for Surtain will be 14 ounces.

“We were pleasantly surprised to find this works really well with a lot of our liquid fertilizers,” Probst said.

“Surtain is strictly a corn product, but both active ingredients are labeled for soybeans,” he said. “So, when you are switching over your sprayer, if you get the sprayer empty, one good rinse will be good.”

Martha Blum

Martha Blum

Field Editor