Unless you're one of the farmers who either own your own or have access to high-clearance application equipment to apply fungicide on your own acres when it needs to be applied, it's time to be thinking about lining up services to get the material applied when needed, even though some corn is still in the bag and some that is planted is still not emerged. That's the word from Gery Welker, Technical Service Representative for BASF in Indiana.
There are so many acres that need to be sprayed in such a short window, that if aerial applicators don't plan ahead and book acreage well in advance, they can't complete the work and get to everyone in a timely manner, he observes. His advice is to begin making contact with the aerial applicator if you're going to use one, and make it soon.
For his products, Headline and Headline Amp, Welker says the window is the VT to R3 stage. Headline Amp should continue to kill disease spores somewhat longer than Headline, he notes. In sequential programs, recommended for people with high disease risk, that include and early application, he recommends Headline at V5 to V8 stage of growth, and Headline Amp in the second application.
There are still those consultants and agronomists who recommends waiting and seeing if you need a fungicide application, especially if you've planted a highly-disease tolerant hybrid to key leaf diseases, including gray leaf spot and northern corn leaf blight. These specialists often advise scouting corn on a regular basis as the season unfolds to assess whether or not a fungicide application would pay. Cost for the chemistry in a two-stage program is about $30 per acre, Welker reports. That does not include application costs.Whichever way you're going, disease management ought to be part of your planning process, since the tools are available today to help protect high yield potential. Those tools can include both very –resistant hybrids and/or fungicide applications. If you suspect you could need a fungicide application, this is the time to be figuring out how you would make it, and doing the planning with an aerial applicator or someone else so you're sure you have the ability to apply the product when necessary.