December 02, 2023

Putting the fun in fungicide

Beck’s agronomists break down data-proven practices

ATLANTA, Ind. — Hosts Aaron Carmer and Collin Scherer explain Beck’s Hybrids’ most popular studies in a fun, easy to implement video series on YouTube called “The Dig.”

In Episode 9, they put the fun in fungicides by explaining data-proven ways to be smart about fungicide applications.

“Fungicides primarily prevent or mitigate disease pressure, but they can also increase water use efficiency, photosynthesis and nitrate reductase activity,” Scherer said. “They also help increase the window for grain fill and improve stress tolerance.”

“When applying fungicides to soybeans, we also get the additional benefit of improved leaf retention, which helps increase yields,” Carmer added.

One of the most important factors to consider when planning for a profitable fungicide pass is timing.

Looking at corn, data has consistently shown that the most profitable fungicide application timing to help combat these diseases is the VT or R1 growth stage.

“These later fungicide applications in corn can help control diseases that tend to move in after pollination — like tar spot, northern corn leaf blight, gray leaf spot and southern rust,” said Chad Kalaher, field agronomist at Beck’s.

For soybeans, the sweet spot is the R3 stage.

“When you look at the growth stages of soybeans, approximately 70% of soybean plant yield comes from the middle of the plant, or nodes 6 to 13,” Kalaher said. “Those nodes are usually present at the R3 growth stage.

“That’s why it’s so important to ensure you’re hitting this crucial stage in the crop’s development. The R3 stage in soybeans is identified by having at least one pod that is 3/16 inches long at one of the four uppermost nodes on the main stem of the fully developed leaf.”

When it comes to the most effective time of day, earlier is better.

“When it comes to fungicides, the early bird gets the worm,” Carmer said. “Our data indicates that fungicide applications are most effective when applied in the morning, as dew can help spread the fungicide over the leaf’s surface.

“Three-year, multilocation data shows a little over $10 an acre return on investment advantage on corn and a little over $5 return on investment advantage in soybeans at applications made at 8 a.m. versus 3 p.m.”

Watch free episodes of “The Dig” at

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor