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Corn Hybrid Response to Foliar Fungicides

Categories: GROWING, CORN
  • Making farm and field fungicide decisions can be complex.
  • Results from this study help understand individual hybrid potential response to fungicide which can aid in the decision process.

There are many factors that go into making fungicide application decisions. Scouting and timely applications should always be the biggest drivers in the final decision. There are many levels of complexity beyond scouting that go into making farm-by-farm fungicide decisions. Golden Harvest® Agronomy in Action research conducts a yearly study that provides results to better understand the potential of individual hybrid response to fungicide treatment. Understanding hybrid susceptibility to a disease is extremely important in fields where disease pressure is highly predictable. There is an opportunity to further improve fungicide return on investment by understanding hybrids that respond more frequently and at high magnitudes when disease pressure is low.

Image showing foliar fungicide being applied to corn hybrids during R1 of research trials.
Figure 1. Fungicide being applied to hybrids at R1 in research trials.

Estimating Response with Low Disease Presence

Fungicide trials are established each year using Golden Harvest hybrids to evaluate individual responses to R1 fungicide application timings (Figures 1 and 2). Fungicides such as Miravis® Neo and Trivapro® have been found to provide more than just traditional disease control. Active ingredients in these fungicides have shown to provide three unique advantages beyond disease control:

  1. Keep leaves greener, allowing more energy capture
  2. Use less water, optimizing nutrient absorption and grain development
  3. Preserve standability for efficient harvest

Trial locations are categorized as either low or highly responsive to fungicide. Information from these trials is used to categorize hybrids into response categories of Best, Good, Fair and Poor, to indicate the probability to respond in lower disease environments.    

Map showing the locations where 2022 Fungicide by Hybrid Response trials took place.
Figure 2. 2022 Fungicide by Hybrid Response Trial Locations.

Hybrid Selection in Fields with High Disease Risk

Timely fungicide applications prior to disease establishment almost always pay off when disease is present, especially when hybrids are highly susceptible to a specific disease. Selecting hybrids with good disease tolerance and utilizing foliar fungicides are important in areas with high disease risk.

Conditions Increasing Disease Risk

  • Continuous corn rotations
  • Reduced tillage fields with high residue levels where pathogens can overwinter
  • Extended periods of high humidity and leaf wetness that can favor disease development
  • Fields with history of standability issues
  • Observations of disease presence across multiple years
  • Early signs of disease infection on lower leaves

Benefits Beyond Yield – Stronger Stalks

In addition to disease control and potential yield response benefits, fungicide applications can also help improve standability at time of harvest. Previous trial data has shown that utilizing a foliar fungicide can:

  • Improve stalk integrity
  • Reduce stalk lodging
  • Decrease harvest losses
  • Reduce harvest time

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