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One Last Chance

Jul 12, 2022

By Jeff Blauwet, CFE Technical Agronomist

We are beginning to move towards corn’s pollination-early grainfill phase of growth, in many ways this is the most important period in determining corn yields for the season.  Now is decision time for fungicides, foliar insecticides and foliar feed nutrients.

We are expecting a large fungicide application season with the value of corn being as high as it is. The corn crop in general looks quite good considering what we had for late June – early July weather. Properly placed fungicides have shown us 10-30 bu + yield responses in farm fields the last number of years. Not every acre fits or warrants a fungicide application. Keys to stacking the odds in favor of larger responses are:  continuous corn rotations, hybrid response potential, expected higher yield potential acres, fields or situations where harvest may not be quite on time. Winfield United's Answer Plot system tests most of the major germplasm source to compare the genetics and how they response with vs. without fungicide applied. The data has shown as much as 30 bu/ac difference in the most responsive vs. the least responsive hybrids. Knowing that would be important before deciding. We feel that corn on corn is nearly a no-brainer due to the increased disease pressure that usually comes with the additional corn residue. Generally, in our area we don’t get a lot of disease pressure every year, but we do seem to get some yield responses every year. Years with more disease increases the bump. Most of the fungicides we use are based on a “preventative” nature thus we need the application done BEFORE diseases start. This makes residual length important and that is what the latest improvements have been in the newest fungicides. The increased residual also comes with multiple modes of action to thwart resistance from the diseases to the chemistry. Just as in herbicides resistance, it’s a “thing” in fungicides with diseases as well. Just ask any livestock producer. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. I would strongly encourage that you avoid the cheaper single mode of action options.  Preferred products (and generally the top performers) are Delaro Complete, Miravis Neo, & Veltyma. Like all phases of life today, supply is tight on many products so plan ahead as best you can so we can cover your needs if you haven’t already.

Insecticides are also of interest right now, especially in corn-on-corn rotations. We expect high Western Corn Rootworm beetle pressure again due to ideal hatch soil conditions for the 3rd year in a row in corn on corn rotations. Prolonged periods of hot-dry weather make it likely Spider Mites are or are going to be present in most fields regardless of rotation. We have seen some grasshopper nymphs along edges of fields and like the mites they flourish in hot dry conditions. A new challenge in the battle with insects is as many of you know we lost registration of the old Lorsban (chlorpyrifos) active ingredient. We used that commonly as it always performed well. So as options are limited, planning is important there as well. We have to make sure the options we have can cover the needs as some of our remaining options don’t knock out all the pests like Lorsban used to.

Corn has very high demands on it right now with pollination and early grain-fill happening.  It can get a boost from boron or manganese during this stage of growth, and these generally aren’t very costly to add in if the plane is in the air. 

Talk to your CFE agronomist to help put all the pieces together and make a plan for success.

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