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Air-conditioned Scouting Can Aid Fungicide Application Decision

Thinking about applying a fungicide for corn disease but not relishing the thought of entering your cornfields to scout?

Well, you’re not alone. It’s not easy to enter a cornfield that dwarfs your head looking for disease. 

There’s another way, though. Daren Mueller, an Iowa State University Extension plant pathologist, says air-conditioned scouting can aid you in your disease assessment and fungicide application decision.

Here’s a three-step description of how it works. 

  1. From your air-conditioned farm office, check out the two-week weather forecast for your area close to tasseling time. Tasseling is the recommended fungicide application time.
  2. Next, couple this with the forecast and disease outlook in your two to three favorite newsletters. This will tip you off about disease outbreaks that might be coming your way, says Mueller.
  3. A week later, continue to monitor area disease outbreaks. Couple this with knowledge about the type of hybrids you planted. 

“If you planted a susceptible fast-growing racehorse hybrid, you greatly increase the odds of getting money back on a fungicide application,” says Mueller. 

Weather definitely plays a role in fungicide application success. Mueller points to an Iowa On-Farm Network plotting soybean response to fungicides from 2004 to 2013.

“When you look at July and August moisture, there is good correlation between yield response and summer moisture,” he says. "In drier years, payoff is less, and it is more in wetter years.”

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