FUNGICIDES: NOT JUST ANOTHER SALES PITCH
Jun 08, 2020
“Fungicides are like a vaccine for plants,” said Mike Slater, Federated ag sales rep for the Isanti and Osceola locations. Fungicides keep plants healthy and free of a wide spectrum of diseases – which in turn allows them to put more energy into yield.
But, like human flu vaccines, not everyone thinks plants need vaccinations. “Like almost everything in agronomy, there is no black and white answer,” said Slater. The ROI for fungicides varies. It depends on the disease pressure in a given year, the timing of the application, and the product that is used. Soybeans typically benefit more than corn (which greatly varies based on hybrids).
“On average, said Slater, “we typically see [an ROI of] between 2-3 bu./ac., and sometimes up to 10 bu./ac. in soybeans, which would be about $15 to $25 more per acre on average, depending on the markets.” The larger yield gains don’t happen every year, he noted, because every growing season is different, but there is a real ROI with fungicide applications on soybeans.
“We usually suggest doing a test strip in a few fields to try fungicides … see what your return would be,” he said.
Federated primarily recommends DuPont® Aproach® herbicide from Corteva. “It’s labeled for most crops within our region and is priced reasonably,” said Slater. (Always read and follow the label.)
When should fungicides be applied?
- On soybeans, at R1 (beginning flower), and sometimes again at R3 (beginning pod). See related article on white mold.
- On corn, at tasseling.
- On alfalfa, when there is about 6 inches of new growth after a cutting.
- On small grains, no later than beginning flowering or Feekes 10.5 (boot stage).
Well-timed fungicides – early rather than late – are “more like a preventive vaccine than an antidote” to fix diseases already affecting the crop, Slater noted.
Give your Federated Agronomist a call to see if a fungicide will work in your operation. “If you need us to apply it, we have the machines to do it,” said Slater.