fungicides may not pay. "Unless a corn crop is at risk of developing fungal diseases, a Purdue University study shows that farmers would be smart to skip fungicide treatments that promise increased yields.
Kiersten Wise, an assistant professor of botany and plant pathology, said fungicides used in fields where conditions were optimal for fungal diseases improved yields and paid for themselves. In fields where fungal diseases are unlikely to develop, however, applying a fungicide is likely a waste of money.
"About five years ago, we never used fungicides in hybrid corn. Then there was this push to use fungicides for yield enhancement, even without disease problems," said Wise, who collaborated on findings that were published as an American Phytopathological Society feature article in the journal Phytopathology. "We found that you would have to get a substantial yield increase for a fungicide treatment to pay for itself. We didn't see that yield increase on a consistent basis, and it wasn't predictable."
I worked on a project for BASF when Headline fungicide came out and we found fields that yielded up to 45 bushels more with Headline fungicide. A neighbor had those same results in a nearby field in 2011 but that is not the norm.
A fungcide does kill the flora and fauna of the soil and many of those are beneficial organisms in a healthy soil. Healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy livestock and healthy humans is our goal. Farmers that use calcium nitrate beside the row have healthier crops. I saw that in Keith's 250 bu corn last summer right beside 50 bushel dead corn.
Do you use a fungicide? I don't and I don't plan to. I am striving for a better balanced soil and a better fertility balanced crop. High calcium lime is a key component to that for me here in Ohio. I spread several hundred tons of it this spring and my crop looks good. Tissue testing is revealing what I am deficient in so I can add the nutrients they need.
We tend to over nitrate our crops in America and underfeed everything else.
Every nutrient in balance is a key.