What is in this article?:
• Planting a couple weeks later than ideal likely won’t have much impact on North Carolina’s final yield of corn.
• However, it will put corn at much higher risk of aflatoxin in the crop and can significantly impact quality and price of the 2011 crop.
An ideal situation
“Last year, for example, we had high temperatures and dry weather coming into silking season. In a year like that every grower should consider using it, because the chance of aflatoxin occurring is very high under those conditions.
“On the other hand, a year like 2003 when we had cool, damp weather the first few weeks of June, during the prime silking and pollination period for our corn crop, the chances of aflatoxin developing were very low,” he says
One drawback of using Aflaguard is application method. Because corn is so high at the time the product is applied, it must be applied by air, or by a specially built high clearance ground sprayer.
Heiniger says they are looking at different application rates and liquid formulations of the product this year.
With corn roughly head high, it’s going to be difficult to do anything other than fly it on, but if we back the application date up a little before corn gets so tall without losing efficacy of the product, that would help growers.
“We worked with Syngenta last year to look at different liquid formulations of the product. We didn’t get quite as good results as with the dry formulation, but there’s nothing magical about dry versus liquid, it’s just a matter of getting the formulation to maximize product efficacy,” he adds.
“With the cost of the product ranging in the $20 per acre range, when you factor in the higher cost of aerial application, farmers would be more likely to use it, if they had some way of knowing when their crop is at higher risk,” Heiniger says.
“The active ingredient in the product is naturally occurring and causes only good things to happen, so from an environmental standpoint it is ideal. There is nothing fancy or transgenic about this product.
“For sure aspergillus fungal spores still get in the corn, but these are good spores that don’t cause any problems,” Heiniger says