Fungicide use by Indiana farmers is a growing trend, and one that involves some controversy. Critics say the benefits are not worth the investment, but supporters says the benefits go far beyond just disease control. Dr. Jennifer Holland, Technical Market Specialist, Fungicides with BASF, says research shows that photosynthesis is increased with the use of fungicides, “We have research that shows that Headline fungicide increases photo synthesis in corn when applied at V6, and we have seen an even greater impact with our new fungicide Priaxor.” She added BASF testing has found benefits to fungicides far beyond just disease control, most notably an increase in photosynthesis activity in plants.
She told HAT that growers who used fungicides saw better corn yields because of improved photosynthesis during last year’s drought, “We worked with a grower in northern Illinois who applied Headline to his corn at the beginning of the drought, and we really saw a difference.” She said the corn that was treated had increased green leaf tissue, “He was able to preserve the green leaf tissue on the plant longer and, as a result, was able to provide more energy to the plant with increased photosynthesis.” The grower had higher yields on the crops treated with the fungicide vs. the other areas that were not treated. Those other areas had almost no yield at all because of the drought.
Holland was quick to point out that fungicides are not a cure for drought stress, but they do help corn handle environmental stresses like drought better, “It is just another tool in the toolbox and does not replace the need for a good rain and the right time.”
Dr. Holland supports marketing and field sales efforts through research collaboration for BASF Plant Health products, as well as technical positioning, training, and product-use recommendations for the fungicide portfolio. Prior to her current role, Dr. Holland was a member of the BASF Professional Development Program, where she supported the technical team on BASF Plant Health initiatives. Dr. Holland received her bachelor’s degree in genetics from the University of Wisconsin and her doctorate in biology from the University of Missouri. Dr. Holland was raised in Indiana.