Many acres in Indiana will either be lost completely or produce yields that are well below normal this year. That's now fact, not just speculation. However, a Bayer spokesperson took a different tact when speaking to farmers and dealers at a field day at Bayer plots in Wayne County recently.
Instead of focusing on the negative, he focused on the positive, noting that more than 50% of Indiana's corn crop was still rated good to excellent as of a week ago. While it's a low number historically, representing a tough year, it's still a sizable portion of the crop that could produce good yields.
Bayer spokespersons and many other agronomists see disease threatening the crop. Even last week lesions of either northern corn leaf blight or gray leaf spot were as high as the ear leaf, or the leaf below the ear leaf, in many fields.
Even if it was only a few spots, that much disease pressure at this point in the season could mean serious disease issues could impact even corps that look good now before the season is over. Last year northern corn leaf blight walloped some fields with very susceptible hybrids late in the season.
Most reports indicate that northern corn leaf blight appeared earlier in many fields this year than in 2014.
The spokespersons point was that farmers and dealers with customers should concentrate on trying to protect the good corn, the part over 50% of Indiana's corn crop, then worry about the rest. He indicated that no matter what the corn price does, it makes economic sense to try to protect potential yield in fields which look good now through fungicide applications.
He noted that seven bushels per acre at current prices would pay for the fungicide and application. Some agronomists estimate potential yield loses of 20% or more if disease pressure is severe and the field is affected.