Sclerotinia head rot is a serious, widespread and costly disease affecting sunflowers. It is most common late in the growing season, and germinates on dead petals on the back of the seed heads.
Sclerotinia head rot robs yield and quality
This causes decay in the sunflower heads, reducing oil content and increasing fatty acids. Sclerotia present in diseased heads and stalks return to the soil, were they can persist and infect crops for several years.
When scouting for fusarium head rot in sunflowers, look for bleached, empty seed heads. Seeds from infected heads typically shatter during combining, such that fusarium head rot can easily reduce crop yields by 50% or more.
Crop rotation and planting in non-infested soil are key cultural recommendations to avoid or minimize sclerotinia head rot in sunflowers.
New fungicide controls head rot in sunflowers
In 2012, a new line of defense opened up with the registration of DuPont™ Vertisan™ fungicide. Vertisan™ is a highly potent fungicide that controls sclerotinia head rot and rust in sunflowers. It features a highly effective compound called penthiopyrad that delivers preventive, residual and post-infection activity. Vertisan™ also has the ability to move into the plant and travel across the leaf surface in search of disease.
Vertisan™ is a powerful step forward in the management of sclerotinia head rot, helping you achieve better disease control and higher yields in your sunflowers.