Foliar Fungicides: Are they worth it?

Foliar Fungicides: Are They Worth It?

With the hot, humid weather that has made its way into Latham Country this week, conditions are prime for foliar diseases. Scout fields prior to tassel to determine disease pressure. Fields considered to be high risk are continuous corn fields, fields with conservation tillage and susceptible hybrids.

Watch for Gray Leaf Spot, Southern Rust, Common Rust, Northern and Southern Leaf Blight and Eyespot. Northern Leaf Blight has already been confirmed in southern Wisconsin, and nearly a month earlier than last year.

Q:  How do I know when it is most beneficial to apply a foliar fungicide?

A: Prior to tasseling. Some research shows that application prior to the V8 stage is beneficial, but to do that, disease pressure and identification is key to timing of application. In soybeans, the best time to apply is between R1 (flowering) and R3.

If you are concerned about foliar disease after heavy rainfall or hail, fungicide should be applied depending on the upcoming weather forecast and the weather prior to damage. Most labels suggest applying within 72 hours after the weather event to get the best efficacy out of the fungicide. It is crucial to read and follow the label as each fungicide has its own personality.

Q: Are there benefits of fungicide outside of crop protection?

A: Fungicide that is applied at the proper time can produce positive results in the form of saved yield for corn and soybeans. While some studies have shown an increase in performance that can’t be attributed to saving yield due to decreased diseases, these results have been inconsistent and more work needs to be done in this area.  U.S. agriculture is going through a period where commodity prices are low and return on investment is minimal.  We would encourage farmers in Latham Country to at least consider conducting their own trials to see the benefits of foliar fungicides in their operations.

When it comes to weighing the costs and benefits of fungicide, there are many factors to consider. Price of corn, product, application and drying costs can all seem like daunting costs that would scare away any farmer from going the extra mile. However, investing in fungicide could be a small tradeoff when it comes to protecting your yield.

If you have a question about what you’re seeing in the fields, feel free to ask! Send your questions via Twitter to @LathamSeeds, in a private message on Facebook or call our office at 1-877-GO-LATHAM (1.877.465.2842).