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Fungicides – Just a Yield Enhancer?

July 17, 2020 | By: Eric Phipps

Another article about fungicides, I know (YAWN).  Back almost 20 years ago when Headline was sold by the tanker load as a yield enhancer, BASF set the tone.  Soon every company was selling a new version of fungicide to increase yield. The results were mixed at best.  Early applications lead to poor performance, the wrong adjuvant caused ear damage, and application by air was inconsistent at best.  We have learned quite a bit from our past mistakes.

Fungicides are now used to promote plant heath and harvestability.  Do all crops need a fungicide?  Probably not every year.  We take many more things into consideration now:

  • Crop Rotation – Corn on corn is a highly responsive environment to fungicide applications.
  • Hybrid Selection – Some hybrids simply do not respond as well to a fungicide application as others.
  • Disease Pressure – Higher incidence of treatable disease usually creates a protected yield situation.  With the early cool season, we have stressed the corn crop.  July has proven to be a very hot and dry month so far, another crop stress. Fungicides help reduce plant stress too!

Water movement in the plant is critical this time of year, nutrient uptake at grain fill is crucial.  Fungicides will help the plant regulate water and nutrient movement, increasing the efficacy and overall plant health.  Healthier plants will not only increase grain production, they will have late season intactness that leads to better harvest efficiency.

Let’s not forget about the soybeans!  Fungicides have proven to help during late season pod fill too.  Remember, a healthy plant will continue to promote grain quality.  Stress causes the plants to focus on fixing the problem to stay alive and reduces grain production.

There are several fungicides on the market, contact your local Farm Nutrients representative to discuss what the best solution would be for your fields.

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