Spraying a fungicide on corn is a growing trend in Indiana, but this year may be the year to spray even earlier. Over the past few seasons, Corn Belt farmers have been incorporating a fungicide into their mid-season spray program. But Randy Myers, with Bayer Crop Science, says this year it may be a good idea to use a fungicide early in the season. He recommends an application when the corn is in the V4 to V7 stage, “The actual yield potential is being determined that early.” He added that the many of the basic characteristics of a corn plant that determine its eventual yield are determined very early in the plant’s development and that a fungicide treatment makes for a healthier plant and better early development.
Myers told HAT, with the early warm up, disease pressure may show in corn fields earlier this year than average and an early fungicide treatment will help plants defend against this pressure, “With the higher plant population we have and the reduction in tillage, the potential for disease is higher.” He said getting the fungicide out early helps suppress the start of the disease pressure.
With much of our corn getting planted early, the timing of midseason herbicide spray programs may have to be adjusted. Myers cautioned that, if you are spraying a combined fungicide and herbicide application check the weed height and plant progress, “You need to check the plant stage to make sure you are at a stage that the plant can tolerate the application.” He also said the weeds need to be checked to make sure you are applying at the right time to make sure the herbicide will be effective, “There is a lot more involved than just the crop stage.”
An Iowa State University study indicated that, on average, the use of a fungicide application in corn boosted yields an average of 3.3 bpa.[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/05/Myers-Bayer.mp3|titles=Interview with Randy Myers with Bayer Crop Science]
Listen to the complete interview with Randy Myers.[audio:https://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/05/spraywrap.mp3|titles=Spray Early For Higher Yields]