Protecting alfalfa yield and quality with fungicides

Whether you’re spraying fungicides on corn, soybeans or cereals, the application can deliver a solid return on investment if it suppresses disease and builds and protects yield potential.

The story is the same for alfalfa, says BASF business representative and agronomist Ken Currah. He says livestock farmers are looking for yield and protein to make milk and meat; high yields and more protein produced by healthier, more robust alfalfa plants can make a difference in both the dairy barn and in the feedlot.

In this interview, Currah discusses the impact leaf diseases such as common leaf spot can have on alfalfa yield and quality. In mature alfalfa stands — three to fours years old — common leaf spot can deliver a significant yield and quality hit, especially in the lower portion of the canopy. Here the disease, which is easily identified by small, circular black spots, tends to knock lower leaves off the plant. (Story continues after the video.)

BASF recently registered its Priaxor fungicide for use on alfalfa. Currah says research plots with farm co-operators paint a similar picture of the benefits the fungicide provides in other crops. “In the alfalfa trials, we’re seeing a 10 to 15 percent dry matter yield bump,” says Currah. He notes Priaxor on first-cut alfalfa tends to deliver a higher yield increase while the second- and third-cut crops tend also to produce higher protein.

In the video, Currah discusses application timing and the role weather and growing conditions play in helping growers determine whether investing in fungicides for alfalfa will deliver a return on investment.



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