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Science

Field Check Up Series: Weigh the value of midseason inputs

The corn vegetative stage is a critical time for farmers. This growth stage provides opportunities to fix problems in the field and keep yield potential on track. The challenge is to evaluate the crop health in each field and then determine the need for additional inputs.

For the third week of May in Illinois, farmers should evaluate their corn stands. Getting a stand count is the first step in evaluating the potential productivity of the field.

Field conditions at planting and weather events during emergence can impact final stands from initial planting populations. A thorough evaluation with your Channel Seedsman can also uncover management items to change for the following year or reaffirm current management decisions.

Channel Seedsmen evaluate crop health and share their findings with customers, providing an unbiased opinion about which fields can benefit from vegetative stage input applications. Some choices are easier than others.

If weeds are a problem, spraying an herbicide is an obvious choice. If corn is showing yellowed leaves from nitrogen deficiency, the decision to sidedress could be necessary.

The criteria for vegetative fungicide applications on corn can be less clear. Farmers may want to protect healthy fields with good yield potential, as well as fields at risk for disease from product risk or management practices.

Fields with potential fungicide consideration include these conditions:

• Continuous corn.

• High-residue fields.

• High-productivity fields.

Field size and topography are also considerations, as some fields are not well positioned for aerial fungicide applications late in the vegetative stage.

A choice for those fields could be an application during the early vegetative stage; fungicide can be applied with field machinery, along with an herbicide. Research has shown fungicide timing impacts efficacy, so be sure to talk with your local Channel Seedsman for a more in-depth conversation.

Not all fungicide products are created equal. Check product labels to confirm the fungicide you select will control the disease species in your field.

Lastly, when tank mixing fungicides with herbicides, check labels for guidance to avoid plant injury. Visit the Agronomy Library at Channel.com/Ag for more information about midseason corn growth and inputs.

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