DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - Spring has arrived and farmers are getting ready to start planting in the next month. And with wet soils across Iowa, farmers are also on the lookout for early plant diseases.
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One of the tools used by farmers to help make sure their crop sticks around are fungicides. They can use seed treatments, so the seed can germinate safely in cool, wet soil conditions. A principle scientist with Bayer, Mike Weber, says that is one of three primary times to use fungicide in a year.
He says, "Really that early application is going to help the stand ability and it will help with crown rot, which is going to be an issue in cool, wet conditions. And the other thing that you're trying to protect against is again the pathogens that may be on corn residue. There may be some corn on corn scenarios."
Diseases are finding it easier to stick around on crop residue. Especially since hybrids are becoming healthy and hardy, so they take longer to decompose.
The other good times to spray fungicides are early on after sprouting and then after tasseling to make sure crops stay upright.
Fungicides are used in aerial applications and in tall sprayers, Weber says it tends to be worth the cost, "Fungicide value really has, over the last 10 years, really paid for itself overall. Because of the return on investment. and with Delaro fungicide for an example, in corn we've averaged 16 bushel an acre, and in beans, six bushel."