Growing Knowledge

Read the latest insights from our experts as they cover agronomy issues that matter most to you and your operation.

Make the Most of Your Fungicide Application

Mark Glady
Regional Agronomist
Will it pay to apply a fungicide this year? If we could look into the future, it would be easy to make that call today. Since that’s impossible, my best advice is to use data and common sense to determine the best course of action to protect plant health.
 
Start with seed
You already have access to data that can help you determine whether return on investment with a fungicide application is more likely. First, l recommend looking at your seed guide. Most companies rate hybrids and varieties for their tolerance to specific diseases. Seed choices with lower tolerance to diseases are good candidates for fungicide protection.
 
While the seed guide is a good place to start, Answer Plot® data from WinField United provides more about in-season results. Each year, we test 240 hybrids across seed brands to determine response-to-fungicide (RTF) scores. Unlike most seed guides, which base disease ratings on visual observations, Answer Plot data is used to calculate the potential yield response of a fungicide application by hybrid. The trials are replicated more than 200 times to account for different growing conditions and geographies. Data from 2017 Answer Plot trials showed a fungicide yield response averaging 11.2 bushels per acre across tested hybrids when MasterLock® adjuvant was included in the tank mix. Yield response ranged from -4 to 38 bushels per acre, which reinforces different hybrid responses to fungicide application.
 
Survey conditions and act
Once you understand where you’re likely to see the best response to fungicide, it’s time to survey fields. Scout early and often, especially if environmental conditions favor disease development. In general, you’ll see the best return on investment when applying a fungicide at tassel time. But if disease starts early and is progressing quickly, a V5 application can help protect plants until tasseling.
 
Get the most value from your fungicide treatment by adding an adjuvant like MasterLock to the tank mix. Effective crop protection depends on good coverage. It’s not about the ounces of product per acre that you spray ­­— ­­­­what’s important is that the active ingredient is actually reaching the plant. MasterLock optimizes droplet size to reduce drift potential and help ensure more product penetrates into the canopy. It contains a surfactant to help cover more leaf surface area.
 
Plan to attend an Answer Plot event this summer to learn more about getting the most from your fungicide applications.

Early-Season Considerations to Protect Yield

Gabe Saxon
Agronomist, WinField United
As I consider the current weather conditions and what they mean for the season, my attention turns to scouting. Checking crop conditions frequently and thoroughly will help you determine action needed to protect yield potential.
 
Early-season considerations
Early plant health indicates how crops will respond to stress later in the season. Consider hybrids or varieties, seed treatments and environmental conditions as a starting point for evaluating fields after planting.
 
Cold, wet conditions combined with hybrids that are more susceptible to disease could warrant an early-season fungicide application. In that case, applying an effective fungicide with multiple modes of action around V4 to V5 can help limit disease progression. 
 
If early-season disease pressure isn’t a concern, one fungicide application near tasseling will typically offer the best return on investment. Fungicides and insecticides can often be tank-mixed to save on trips through the field, but be sure to review all product labels prior to mixing and application.
 
Ensure good coverage
Good spray coverage is one of the most important factors in effective disease and insect control. The goal is to get enough active ingredient on and into plants to halt disease progression and insect feeding. An effective adjuvant like MasterLock® can help deliver more fungicide and insecticide active ingredient to the plant for better disease and insect control. For best results, use the highest labeled application rates and follow label directions for spray volume; trying to save a few dollars by using lower rates may provide disappointing control.
 
Technology can help
The R7® Tool by WinField United is one example of how technology can help farmers scout fields and plan for crop protection applications. And the Field Forecasting Tool within R7 allows you to model real-time crop growth based on field conditions to optimize spray timing for the most reliable control.
 
My best advice heading into the season is to develop a good crop protection plan, then scout fields regularly and follow your plan. Cutting corners will only lead to headaches later, so keep the big picture in mind when making decisions that will help protect yield potential from damaging disease and insects.

Safeguard Sugarbeets From Cercospora Leaf Spot

Mark Glady
Regional Agronomist
Cercospora leaf spot is one of the most devastating pathogens for a sugarbeet crop. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that the fungal disease can lead to losses totaling as much as 30 percent of the crop’s value if not managed properly.
 
So, what can producers do to safeguard their crop? Recent data from replicated trials in Michigan shows that an intensive fungicide spray program that includes MasterLock® adjuvant may help lower Cercospora leaf spot incidence in sugarbeets, resulting in higher yield and revenue potential.
 
Data guides action
Michigan Sugar conducted fungicide trials at two research locations in 2017. The results showed an average net revenue increase potential of $87 to $124* per acre across treatments and locations when MasterLock® adjuvant was added to a fungicide tank mix, compared to fungicide treatments where no adjuvant was used. Fungicide treatments in the study included EBDC, triazole, copper and Super Tin® 4L applied four to eight times throughout the growing season. This data is consistent with results from similar studies conducted in 2016.
 
Disease pressure was high at both locations in the 2017 study. At one of the Pigeon, Michigan, trials, plants sprayed with fungicide plus MasterLock® adjuvant had 22.4 percent Cercospora leaf spot damage on September 19, compared to 39.7 percent damage in plants where fungicide was applied without the adjuvant. The plots treated with fungicide plus MasterLock® adjuvant yielded 2.4 more tons of sugarbeets per acre compared to plots treated with only fungicide. Similar trends were reported from the second trial site in Pigeon.  
 

Source: Adapted from Michigan Sugar research trials (2017)
 
Proving the value
MasterLock® adjuvant enhances spray coverage by improving spray deposition, canopy penetration, and spray droplet sticking and spreading while reducing drift. It is a relatively low-cost addition to the tank mix that helps improve the coverage and efficacy of crop protection products.
 
At high spray pressures like those recommended for sugarbeets, there are a higher percentage of driftable fine droplets that may never reach the targeted crop, as shown in the graphic below. That leads to more wasted input and less efficacious pest control, in addition to greater environmental impacts and an increased risk for pesticide resistance to develop.



Two years of consistent trial data suggest that the cost of adding MasterLock® adjuvant to a fungicide tank mix easily pays for itself with healthier crops and higher yield potential. While these studies show results with sugarbeets, we would expect to see better fungicide coverage on any crop where multiple passes of fungicide are applied with high spray pressures (potatoes and edible beans, for example).
 
Contact your local retailer for more information about how MasterLock® adjuvant can help increase revenue potential on your farm.
 
*Assumes a $40 beet payment and trial average RWST (recoverable sugar per ton) with fungicide costs subtracted.
 
Results may vary. Because of factors outside of Winfield Solutions’ control, such as weather, product application and any other factors, results to be obtained, including but not limited to yields, financial performance or profits, cannot be predicted or guaranteed by Winfield Solutions.
 
SuperTin® 4L is a United Phosphorus, Inc. product.

Key Considerations When Choosing Cotton Seed

Joel and Kyle
Hosts, WinField United
Host Kyle talks cotton on this episode of The Deal With Yield® with guest Sara Smelser, regional agronomist for WinField United. The two discuss why seed selection is a key factor in optimal production, and Kyle learns a thing or two about money.
Season 11, Episode 1 – Key Considerations When Choosing Cotton Seed

The Deal With Yield is a podcast series covering the issues that matter most in crop production.

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