David Hartz says he had another good corn yield—a fact that he partly applies to his intensive use of Headline fungicide.
The Cavalier, N.D., farmer applies Headline three times to corn during the growing season. He puts Headline in the furrow with the seed, sprays it on small plants when he's applying a post-emergent herbicide and treats plants again when tassels appear.
His strategy is to keep corn as healthy as possible as long as possible.
"I have a pretty short season to start with," says Hartz, who farms near the North Dakota-Canadian border "I want the corn plants to be able to make full use of every bit of sunlight and heat we get."
Applying Headline has producer bigger root systems, greener, healthier leaves longer in the season; and thicker stalks that less prone to lodging, he says.
The jury's still out whether such aggressive use of Headline pays, however.
North Dakota State University has tested Headline applied once after tasseling and has not documented any consistent yield advantage.
University of Minnesota researchers have seen a 2-3% yield increase from Headline applied at tasseling, but the difference wasn't high enough to be statistically significant.
BASF—the makers of Headline—reports a 12 bushel per acre average increase from 2004 to 2009 in corn yields with Headline, even in low-disease pressure situations.