Plant health benefits and the spectre of soybean rust disease are driving demand for fungicides in the US on corn and soybeans over the past three years.
Roy Cleveland, executive vice-president of the US-based market research firm, dmrkynetec said at Crop Protection Business Seminar held in conjunction with the BCPC Congress in Glasgow, UK in October that fungicide sales on corn and soybeans have grown from US $17 million in 2004 to approximately US $110 million this year.
Cleveland said that 1.4 million hectares (Ha) of soybeans were sprayed with fungicides in 2005 to fight soybean rust, and while the disease did not make a serious appearance in 2005, growers using fungicides saw an average 12% yield increase. With prices strong and growers trying to get as much corn and soy out of the ground as possible, fungicides are becoming more common in US fields.
Growers applying fungicides on corn saw average yield increases of 8% in 2006, Cleveland said. Between 2004 and 2006, fungicide use on corn grew 11-fold, and more area is expected to be sprayed in the future. In total, fungicide use on all US crops rose almost 60% between 2000 and 2005.