Almost everyone agrees that unless the trends of this season turn around dramatically, paying attention to crops and monitoring what's happening in the fields could pay especially big dividends this year. There are different opinions on how to best do that, whether it's through scouting and treatment when indicated, or application of preventive treatments. The best advice may be to talk to the people in the field you trust the most, then make your own decision.
Bob Nielsen, Purdue University corn specialist, likes the advantages of crop scouting, and spraying fungicides, for example, when disease symptoms reach a level to warrant treatment. But on the other hand, he realizes that the logistics of lining up product and applicators for a function that depends upon timing, and usually precise timing within a very small window, can complicate matters greatly.
Some folk are getting on waiting lists for aerial application when the timing is right through their local dealers. One option would be to get on that list, but still scout Remove your name if you don't feel it's justified when the time to spray arrives. If diseases are present, you're covered, he notes.
Dave Nanda, president of Bird hybrids, Tiffin, Ohio, is a big believer in crop scouting. He believes in checking for presence of diseases. He becomes especially concerned as diseases moves up the plant. Foliar diseases above the ear later in the season can cause big-time yield losses, he notes.
Find out more about what Nielsen and Nanda recommend in the upcoming July issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer, hitting mailboxes soon. Coverage includes pictures of several key diseases, tips on when to pull the trigger, precautions about what might happen if you don't follow fungicide labels, and much more.
Meanwhile, some offer a different approach. Faced with wet weather favorable for disease, BASF specialists suggest considering a proactive application of Headline. It's a fungicide produced by BASF. The proactive approach will help prevent disease, improve plant health and help maximize yields, BASF specialists say.
One suggestion is to apply Headline at the VT to R2 stage in corn, and the R2 to R3 stage in soybeans. Check with your supplier and product labels to zero in on exactly what stage of corn and soybeans they mean by those technical descriptions.