Summer is winding down and fall is coming. However, now is not the time to stop paying attention to your fields.
Tim Dahl, an agronomy service representative with Syngenta based in Minnesota, says diseases are starting to pop up in fields in the Midwest. He has found Northern corn leaf blight and rust in corn fields. And in soybean fields, it’s not hard to find sudden death syndrome, brown stem rot, frogeye leaf spot or white mold.
Dahl urges all producers to continue scouting. “Be in your fields… The time is now.”
In the Midwest and parts of central United States, corn is under stress from drought and dry weather, which can contribute to stalk issues later in the season. In addition, corn is suffering from rootworm activity in many fields. The corn rootworm feeding removes root mass, leading to lodging issues, reduced water and nutrient uptake and overall adds stress on the corn plant. This can lead to late-season stalk issues affecting harvest efficiency.
The white mold issues are tough to fight, especially this year, because the disease is tough to control with a fungicide alone. Very few fungicides have activity on soybean white mold. A product like Miravis Neo that does have activity on white mold needs to be applied early in the flowering period to reduce impact from the disease. Dahl says producers also need to fight white mold with variety selection and cultural practices, like increasing row width and appropriate seeding rates.
Dahl says planning is necessary for the next crop season if SDS is a problem in your soybean fields. That’s why he wants farmers to consider improving drainage to their fields, planting in drier and warmer soil conditions and using a seed treatment.
In corn fields, Northern corn leaf blight, rust, grey leaf spot and tar spot have also been found across the United States. Tar spot was a problem for many producers in 2020, but so far hasn’t been a big issue in Dahl’s area. However, he says it doesn’t mean it’s not coming to a field near you. His recommendation: Keep scouting. Dahl also reminds producers that tar spot and other diseases have a latent period of up to two weeks; the plant can be infected with tar spot earlier in the season and have no symptoms. But by the time it is discovered, most of the damage will be done. So, keep scouting to identify issues. That way you can be proactive on fungicide applications in future years, he says.
Dahl suggests carrying your smart phone every time you scout your fields and take pictures of what you find. The images provide a visual record, helping prepare for future plantings and to make plans to fight whatever diseases exist. By having a visual record, producers can select different hybrids and varieties based on what issues they found in 2021.
Dahl says the visual record can also help producers solve a problem in the fields.
“It’s rarely one solution. It usually takes multiple layers of solutions,” says Dahl. This can be different drainage systems, hybrids, varieties, seed treatments, fungicides, insecticides, fertilizers or tillage practices to combat the problem.
Dahl says at the end of the day, the best way to achieve the most return on your investment is to get the best yields from every acre. It’s about getting the “best economic yields to achieve your maximum ROI potential.”