Foliar Fungicides for Plant Health
We’ve talked a lot in past blogs about the importance of foliar fungicides, both in corn and beans. Most of these posts are about suppressing or controlling disease pressure. This time, we wanted to talk about some of the other benefits that foliar fungicides provide.
1. Manage disease pressure. Okay, yes, I just said this. But this is hands down the most important role of foliar fungicides. Fungicides are critical for suppressing diseases that can reduce yields and cause early plant death. Locally, on fields we have applied corn fungicide to, we see yield results around 7.5 bushels per acre. In 2019, we saw yield gains averaging 11 bushels per acre. With our current prices, we are seeing ROI’s around $25+. A sound investment to be sure.
2. Improve plant health. There is fewer concrete data around the impact that fungicide has on plant health, but it is fairly common knowledge that foliar fungicides also go a long way towards improving plant health, both with and without the presence of disease pressure. While this can provide some great benefits, it also comes with a few considerations. First, we have less data to consult about potential yield gain from the improved plant health. Secondly, we also need to keep resistance in mind. The more we apply fungicides, the more we are at risk for building resistances. However, this is not the end all. Be sure select a product with multiple modes of action to have greater control of disease and prevent any resistances from growing. Keep both the benefits for plant health, our limited information, and good stewardship in mind as you consider applications.
3. Increase yield response. As fungicides work to preserve plant health, they also work to improve yield, both in and without the presence of disease pressure. The theory is, fungicides will maintain plant greenness, which in turn allows for the plant to photosynthesize longer into the season, and results in an increase in yield. Another win for fungicides!