We are coming up on a very critical time of year. While plant and harvest typically get the most attention, the mid-season application can truly make or break your yields. So how do you know that applying a fungicide? We have outlined the top 5 reasons to apply a fungicide: 1: Increased yield In the Minnesota WinField United Answer Plot’s last year, they tested the effectiveness of fungicides and if there would be any yield increase from it. Last year they saw a 5.2 bushel per acre increase in the soybeans treated with a fungicide over those that were not. Nationally, there was a 2.1 bushel per acre increase on soybeans. According to BASF, in a sample of almost 200 field trials, a single application of Stratego YLD across V4 to V7 growth stages saw an average increase of 6.8 bu/A on corn. Looking to pick up some extra yield? That just might be reason enough to add a fungicide application into your summer plans. 2: Can Tank Mix with an Insecticide and Micronutrients Diseases are not the only concern at this time of year. Insect’s begin to make their appearance in droves around mid-to late July depending on the year. Scouting for insects is a great way to determine if adding an insecticide into your tank mix would be beneficial. In soybeans, pay specific attention to the underside of the soybean canopy. This is where our most common pests, aphids and spider mites like to hang out. Thresholds for aphids can vary depending on who you talk to, but typically the rule of thumb is 200 aphids per plant. However, this can vary depending on factors such as time of year or weather so be sure to consult with your Centra Sota agronomist to help you make the decision to spray or not. Spider Mites are a little different. Spider mites are more likely in hot, dry conditions. The presence of spider mites is an indicator that you will need to make an insecticide application. Be sure to make the most out of this application as insecticides do not affect the spider mite eggs, so multiple applications are needed to eradicate the pests. It is very common to have both aphids and spider mites in your fields. If this is the case, it can decrease the threshold so you should consult your Centra Sota agronomist so they can scout the fields and create a unique action plan for your farm. Fungicides and insecticides can also be tank mixed with your micronutrients. During this time of year, an application of micronutrients could be just what your plants need in the final push towards harvest. Sometimes these nutrients get bound up in the soil, or due to weather they are unable to be taken up by the plants. That is why a foliar application of a micronutrient can be crucial. Wondering if a micronutrient application is necessary? Have your Centra Sota agronomist come out and take a tissue sample. This sample can help determine which of your fields and what nutrients they are requiring. By combining your micronutrient, fungicide, and insecticide application, you can save on application costs and it will also decrease the amount of traffic on your fields. 3: Maintains Plant Vitality This may seem like an obvious statement, but the application of a fungicide isn’t just for increased yields, it’s also to help fight the effects of diseases. Reducing the impact that diseases can have will help the plant continue to grow normally. 4: Improves Stalk Strength for Harvestability Diseases tend to weaken stalks, making the plant more susceptible to lodging and green snap. Considering some of the severe weather we’ve had so far this year, high winds and hail, this may be a critical factor in ensuring your crops survive until harvest. 5: Protects Lower Leaves and New Growth Brown spot, cercospora, downy mildew, rust, frogeye leaf spot, rhizoctonia aerial blight, pod & stem blight, alternaria leaf spot, anthracnose, powdery mildew, white mold, and other diseases may infect your soybean crop this year. While fungicides don’t always “cure” diseases, they can act preventatively and protect the more susceptible parts of the plant.
Still not sure if a fungicide is right for you? No problem! Talk with one of our Centra Sota Crop Advisors who will help you decide if a mid-season application of fungicide, insecticide, and micronutrient is economical for your specific operation.