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For Plants, The Best Defense Is A Good Offense
By Bill Rowland
Growers are always optimistic to get ahead of the challenges of the previous year. As retailers, you’re always looking for ways to help them make the right decisions to reach the full potential of their operation.
Each grower may have their own definition of success, but no matter how you slice it, growers need to develop a crop management plan that has a good offense and a good defense. When it comes to crop protection, this includes recommending fungicides as not only a means of managing disease, but also as a way to improve Plant Health to defend against environmental stress throughout the growing season.
For a good offense, applying a Plant Health labeled fungicide like Headline AMP® fungicide helps crops reach their full genetic potential. This fungicide enhances photosynthesis in plants and creates more energy in the reproductive stages. Yield protection is even more essential in high-stress situations like drought, heat and after hail events.  The benefits of Headline AMP fungicide have a consistent ROI over many seasons and countless growing conditions.
When it comes to a good defense, it’s important to remember diseases can damage yield potential before symptoms are easily detected. We suggest paying special attention to fields that are historically disease prone or that have grown corn-on-corn, are no-till or minimum-till. Those fields will need additional management to control diseases. Furthermore, we are hearing of more instances of diseases such as anthracnose, gray leaf spot and multiple types of leaf blight. Knowing this, now is the time to get ahead in making fungicide applications part of the integrated pest management plan for next year.
Fungicide applications not only make a difference throughout the growing season but at harvest time as well. As corn continues to mature, the ears place tremendous stress on the stalk due to increased weight from water and the shift in nutrients. Lower leaves, the source of energy for stalk maintenance, begin to cannibalize and degrade from lack of sunlight caused by the canopy cover. This can lead to stalk rot infestations, which can quickly overtake the stalk.
Poor stalk quality leaves the crop susceptible to stalk lodging, which alone can increase harvest yield losses from 5 to 25 percent, costing growers time, money and fuel. The increase in harvest time, drying costs and machinery wear all take their toll on the grower and their wallet.
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