October 16, 2021

Channel Field Check Up Series: Consider crop stage and cost of fungicide applications

The midseason reproductive stages in corn are a critical time for farmers. During these growth stages, yield potential can still be maintained by remedying problems in the field.

Choosing the right inputs is the challenge, and some choices are easier than others. If weeds are a problem, the obvious option is to spray an herbicide. If corn is showing yellow leaves from nitrogen deficiency, side-dressing could be the right call.

The criteria for fungicide applications on corn can be less clear-cut. With aggressive commodity markets in play, farmers may want to protect healthy fields with good yield potential.

Supporting the yield potential of products with limited disease tolerance or with increased susceptibility due to management practices might require a more in-depth analysis of costs and benefits.

Every year, we monitor for fungal diseases in Indiana such as gray leaf spot, southern rust and northern corn leaf blight. Stressors this June have included excessive moisture and strong winds.

Disease pathogens are always present, and the combination of the growing environment and plant stress supports disease development. In these conditions, farmers should consider applying a fungicide to protect yield potential.

Prior to applying a fungicide, evaluate fields for disease susceptibility and severity, the current yield potential of each field, and corn stage of development. Then, consider the cost of treatment and corn price to determine if the application can support profitability. Finally, check the weather forecast to evaluate if upcoming conditions will continue to promote disease development.

The profitability calculator tool at Channel.com is available to help evaluate the cost effectiveness of midseason inputs.

Research suggests fungicide timing impacts efficacy and 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.

Check in with your local Channel Seedsman for more information about fungicides.

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