It’s a straightforward answer when pondering whether to apply fungicide to a corn field that has no promise of good yields this year.
“The one time we would maybe not recommend a fungicide is if your crop looks absolutely terrible and we don’t think it’s worth that investment,” says technical agronomist Kirsten Thomas-Garriott with DEKALB-Asgrow.
But that is not the state of Indiana’s corn crop. So, as Thomas-Garriott says, you can decide to play defense by spraying to keep disease in the lower canopy from moving up.
“We don’t want to let them creep up to the ear leaf and beyond, those leaves that are responsible for photosynthesis and kind of the energy factory for the plant and developing that grain,” she explained. “We want to keep those healthy and really the only way to do that is spray them before they get there. So, we want to keep that disease confined and certainly that tasseling to early brown silk application will help us do that.”
You might also go on offense to take what you think is a great crop out to its fullest potential yield.
“We want to protect that and there is certainly a plant health benefit to most of the fungicides we spray,” Thomas-Garriott told HAT. “The strobilurin family, which is what the large majority of people use, the large majority of products going on contains a strobi. We can really capitalize on extending the life of that factory later in the season keeping those leaves greener just a little bit longer and letting that plant life out its full healthy life cycle. The longer we stretch grain fill the more our test weight increases, the more our grain depth increases.”
She says they like that approach with a potentially great crop, even when disease incidence is low and not of great concern.