Tar spot continued its spread in 2020, robbing yield from many Indiana corn fields. Indiana agronomist Brian Early with Pioneer says it’s imperative that farmers plan this winter to get ahead of tar spot next season, and it starts with your variety selection.
“Our varieties, as well as every variety across the country, has a different tolerance of these leaf diseases. So, it’s important when you sit down and plan in 2021, or right now throughout the winter, that you keep that in mind on the seed side to look at those tolerances.”
Early also recommends a fungicide to help with tar spot, and he says it should used proactively instead of reactively.
“Tar spot is unique in that it gets infection in the plant and it kind of lays dormant inside the plant. So, by the time you start to see those little black pustules come to the surface, the tar spot is well embedded in there. So, to manage it effectively, you’ve really got to have that proactive, curative application to get ahead of that disease.”
Early recommends applying Aproach Prima fungicide to corn between the tassel and blister stage for the best results. That should also help fend off other disease concerns.
“When we had to start looking at variety tolerances and fungicides to manage tar spot, naturally we’re picking up good control on things like northern corn leaf blight and grey leaf spot as well. So, using Aproach Prima and picking our best varieties tolerant to tar spot has really paid off for us.”
Early adds that you can rely on your Pioneer sales representative to help you plan.
“We know the ins and outs of the tolerances of varieties, how they work in conjunction with the fungicides, timings and rates and such, to really help fine tune that plan before we get going with the planters. In addition to that, if you’re a self-scouter, we offer a really nice library of images on pioneer.com/agronomy that you can get online and look at all those as well.”