• Crop Protection
  • Jul 07, 2021

3 Tips for More Economical Fungicide Applications

Inspecting roots of corn crop

When weighing purchase decisions, there are many factors to consider, but when push comes to shove, it’s all about the ROI potential. Here are three steps you can take to make more economical fungicide decisions, regardless of what the season brings.

1. Identify responsive hybrids and prioritize spray applications

A great way to help improve your return on fungicide investment is to prioritize applications based on response-to fungicide (RTF) scores. Derived from years of WinField United Answer Plot® yield data, these scores indicate how each hybrid will respond to a fungicide application to help you decide which ones to spray and what to spray them with.
There could be up to a double-digit yield return on fungicide applications when a hybrid has a high RTF score, even with low disease pressure. We often hear about the “plant health” benefits of strobilurin fungicides, but what does that really mean?  To put it in perspective, from VT to maturity, the corn plant will double in weight without adding a single leaf.  When plants are stressed, they have a reduced ability to maintain kernel number, accumulate starch in kernels, and redistribute nutrients from the leaves and stalks that are required for grain fill.  These fungicides can help reduce the stress on plants by suppressing stress response hormones that hinder the plant’s ability to cool itself and exchange CO2 through the stomata. By making these processes more efficient, the “plant health” benefit to strobilurin fungicides is realized in heavier kernel weight, a key component of yield.

2. Apply the right products

When choosing fungicides, active ingredients matter. I recommend a fungicide that provides multiple modes of action against the diseases you’re most likely to see. These products can offer the best disease control and also help mitigate the development of fungicide resistance.
Regardless of the fungicide you choose, you can maximize its efficacy by adding an adjuvant. MasterLock® adjuvant can reduce drift potential and help get more active ingredient deeper into the canopy where many diseases begin. It’s formulated without nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPE), which reduces the risk of arrested ear development when applied near tasseling time in corn. MasterLock adjuvant also contains a surfactant that helps the active ingredient stick to the leaf’s surface for better absorption. Our replicated trials show that MasterLock can help increase corn yields by an average of 5.7 bushels per acre with its combined surfactant and drift reduction technology, compared to using a fungicide alone.1

3. Pair fungicides with other applications

To help mitigate application expenses, identify ways to pair your fungicide application with other trips you’ll already be making through the field. For example, you may be able add fungicides with plant nutrition applications to boost plant health with one pass. MAX-IN® foliar nutrient options drive more nutrients into the plant with patented CornSorb® technology.
It pays to adopt a thoughtful strategy for your fungicide applications. Maintaining plant health will be critical to producing top yields at the end of the season. Speak with your locally owned and operated WinField United retailer to learn more about disease control options that fit your budget.
1WinField United, 14 studies, 8 states, all fungicides, 2012–2017.
This article was originally published in June 2019 and was updated in July 2021.

All photos are either the property of WinField United or used with permission.

© 2021 WinField United. Important: Before use always read and follow label instructions. Crop performance is dependent on several factors many of which are beyond the control of WinField United, including without limitation, soil type, pest pressures, agronomic practices and weather conditions. Growers are encouraged to consider data from multiple locations, over multiple years and to be mindful of how such agronomic conditions could impact results. Answer Plot, MasterLock, MAX-IN and WinField are trademarks of WinField United All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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