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Make the fungicide decision with data


One of the most frequent questions I get this time of year is, “should I spend the money to spray my corn with a

fungicide?” We generally use many

factors to come up with the answer to that question such as crop condition, market price for corn, disease presence, and more times than not, access to additional funds to spend on the acre.

With tighter margins, you may choose to delay your fungicide purchase to see what the season brings. But that might not be the best approach to getting the most from your seed’s genetics. Answer Plot® data from WinField® United shows that not all hybrids respond to fungicide applications the same way. In fact,research trials have shown instances where disease pressure in a field has been relatively low, yet the hybrid yield response to a fungicide application is significant. 

That’s because fungicides do more than just control disease. They affect plants in other physiological ways, including influencing nitrogen-use efficiency, respiration maintenance and hormone production. All these things can affect yield potential, even in the absence of disease. In addition, crops treated with a fungicide tend to have improved standability later into the season, which can protect yield potential during a late-harvest year. But that doesn’t mean that every hybrid reacts the same way. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to optimizing a crop’s productivity with a fungicide application. 

That’s why understanding how your crops will respond to various management practices, including fungicide applications, is valuable. Data from the 2019 Answer Plot® program showed an average 16.1 bushel-per-acre response to an RI fungicide application versus untreated across all hybrids but a range from 5.6 to 40.4 bushel-per-acre yield response, depending on the hybrid. Understanding a hybrid’s response-to score can help you better manage your seed, which

allows you to allocate your crop inputs budget more precisely.

Good spray coverage means good disease control

When you invest in a fungicide application, you want to ensure you’re maximizing its disease control potential. One way to do that is by adding an adjuvant like MasterLock® to the tank mix. MasterLock optimizes droplet size to reduce drift potential and helps ensure more product penetrates into the canopy. It also contains a surfactant formulated without nonylphenol ethoxylate, which allows the spray to cover more leaf surface area while reducing the risk of arrested ear development when applied near tasseling time in corn. That helps ensure you’re getting the most value from your fungicide treatments. WinField® United Answer Plot® data has shown a 5.7-bushel-per-acre average yield increase in corn when MasterLock is added to the spray tank along with a fungicide, compared to using a fungicide alone.*

Effective disease control depends on good fungicide coverage. It’s not about the ounces of product per acre that you spray — what’s important is that the active ingredient is actually reaching the plant. Improve fungicide performance by adding MasterLock to your tank. Contact your local Co-op to learn about other ways to maximize the return-on-investment potential of your

fungicide applications.

*National average difference between fungicide application at R1 and untreated control.

2019 Answer Plot program data.

FROM THE FIELD: Kevin Essary • Milledgeville, TN

Fourth-generation farmer Kevin Essary of Milledgeville grows more than 4,000 acres of corn and soybeans, the majority of which are located just about eight miles west of the Tennessee River in the southeastern corner of Chester County. He’s a believer in the value of fungicides on his row crops, having used them for the last several years.

“You can really see the difference when you go to scouting,” says Kevin, a customer of First Farmers Cooperative. “We have seen demonstrations from Keith Saums, our WinField rep, that show the difference in coverage beneath the canopy, and that’s really what got us using them more. I haven’t done any side-by-side studies, but I feel like the impact to our yields has been significant.”

Kevin applies the fungicide at tasseling time using a Hagie sprayer. He also uses MasterLock adjuvant to help improve fungicide response. The sprayer has a boom extended in front of the cab, which makes it easy to monitor the process, says Kevin. 

“The canopy penetration with the MasterLock is phenomenal,” says Kevin reports. “Getting the product onto the leaves and down lower into the canopy is a big plus.”

In addition to enhancing adhesion, MasterLock also helps to reduce drift and evaporation. 

“When I’m applying it to my beans, I will generally be running 18 to 20 gallons with my fungicide, so there’s a lot coming out of my booms,” say Kevin. “When you get up to 12 to 14 miles per hour, your pressure gets fairly high. With the addition of the Masterlock, the fungicide keeps going toward the ground where it belongs.”

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