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Angie Peltier

Angie Peltier
Former Extension Educator, Commercial Agriculture

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Hill and Furrow

Current topics about crop production in Western Illinois, including field crops research at the NWIARDC in Monmouth.
Figure. Spray rig.(Image: Howard F. Schwartz, Colorado State University,

Are foliar fungicides recommended for V6 corn?

Posted by Angie Peltier - Disease

A group of scientists from ten states and Ontario, Canada work together as a 'Corn Disease Working Group' to collect disease and yield data from foliar fungicide trials. Foliar fungicides for vegetative corn (when corn has between four and six leaves) have been aggressively marketed in the past. In 2012, the Corn Disease Working Group collected data from experiments in which 10 different foliar fungicides were applied to corn plants between the five and six leaf stage of growth. This data showed that there was no yield increase in fungicide treated plants compared to untreated plants. In fact in their 2012 data set, on average, fungicide treated plots yielded 1 bushel per acre less than untreated control plots.

These multi-state results agree with results collected by researchers in Illinois led by University of Illinois Plant Pathology Extension Specialist, Dr. Carl Bradley. Dr. Bradley's team found in both 2010 and 2011 that plants sprayed with a foliar fungicide at the fifth leaf stage did not yield more than those that remained unsprayed.

Many factors can work together to result in what is called a 'high disease risk environment', including: history of fungal foliar disease, significant corn residue on the soil surface, the presence of foliar fungal disease just before tasselling, and warm, humid weather. A foliar fungicide spray is considered 'profitable' if it results in a yield increase that at least recovers chemical and application costs. Foliar fungicides are most likely to be profitable if they target disease and are applied between tasselling and silking to hybrids of intermediate or high susceptibility in a high disease risk environment.

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