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Syngenta Urges Stress Mitigation in Wheat to Minimize Drought Impact

13 March 2013

US - While relief from the 2012 drought has started to arrive in some areas, many geographies are still feeling the effects. Syngenta recommends wheat growers address these dry weather challenges early with best management practices and proactive fungicides to enhance stress tolerance and provide disease protection.

Current forecasts show no signs of improvement, potentially worsening the negative effects on production, according to climatologists at the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, but there are steps growers can take to help maximize wheat quality and yield.

Growers are likely concerned with the winter wheat they planted in fall 2012. Poor grain fill, small head size, low tillering, short plants and curled leaves are just a few of the inhibitors to winter wheat quality and yield when weather conditions are dry.

“Poor, weak stands due to lack of moisture will likely be another concern for wheat growers this spring,” said Roger Plooster, Syngenta agronomic service representative in South Dakota.

“Growers should get out in the field as early as possible to scout their wheat crops and evaluate stands.”

If poor conditions like those mentioned above are observed, Syngenta suggests growers equip themselves with a stress management plan to ensure their crop is as healthy as possible.

To manage stress, Syngenta recommends an early season foliar fungicide application as it can offer physiological benefits to continue promoting the development of healthy plants.

Kevin Schoenhals, an independent crop consultant in Haven, Kans., witnessed the benefits of applying Quilt® fungicide to drought-plagued wheat in 2012.

In a dry and warm season, Schoenhals conducted a trial in which he compared a plot treated with Quilt to a plot left untreated.

Schoenhals noted the disease protection benefits he expected from Quilt, but he also witnessed greener plants and healthier overall crops at the end of the season.

“We used Quilt for disease control, but we also saw stress mitigation. After we had a blast of heat, I could definitely tell my wheat treated with Quilt was healthier than my untreated wheat,”

Schoenhals explained. “Even when it was hot, my plot treated with Quilt handled the stress. The leaves stayed open, taking in sunlight and nutrients longer than my untreated wheat. In the end, the wheat treated with Quilt was also more robust and yielded higher than the untreated plot.”

The Quilt brand family of fungicides goes well beyond broad-spectrum disease control to offer physiological benefits that can help boost the overall health and vitality of each and every plant.

These added physiological benefits of both Quilt and Quilt Xcel® fungicides help cereal crops to better use the sun’s energy, increase water-use efficiency and extend grain fill as the final step in optimizing yields.

“The physiological benefits from fungicides play a big role in increasing wheat yield in dry weather conditions.” Plooster said.

“In warm, dry weather, I would absolutely recommend applying Quilt or Quilt Xcel at herbicide timing not only for disease protection but also to mitigate stress and ensure healthier plants. As cereal crops become stronger, their stand improves, harvestability increases and a grower’s profit potential rises.”

In anticipation of continued drought conditions, growers can help mitigate crop stress with solutions from Syngenta. In warm, dry weather, applying a plant protection fungicide like Quilt or Quilt Xcel can help minimize stress while protecting against disease at the same time, enabling cereal growers to achieve maximum quantity, yield and profit potential.

TheCropSite News Desk

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