If the weather stays warm and wet, this could be a season when foliar disease lesions appear on corn early. That's the word from Eric Tedford, Syngenta Crop Protection. If corn is still in the V4 to V8 stage, he recommends considering applying a fungicide.
The product he recommends from his company's line is Quilt Excel. It contains two ingredients, he notes, one of which has properties that help corn grow better even in the absence of disease.
"The physiological benefit can help even in years when disease isn't a big issue," he says. "It will also help with stay-green at the end of the season."
University trials over the past few years have generally not shown a large increase for applying fungicides when corn is between V4 and V8. At this stage, four to eight leaves and leaf collars are fully exposed. The growing point comes above the ground somewhere around V5 to V6.
Tedford says that in their research plots, they have shown consistent benefit in quantities large enough to more than pay for the treatment and application cost when applying on young corn. He's aware that university trials have not shown the same results.
"We believe it has to do with the alley effect," Tedford notes. "When researchers test in small plots since they are replicating, there are often alleyways within the plot. When we have tried the same thing in our plots, we get the same results they do.
"However, when we test in larger plots or in farmer test trials, we see significantly more yield increase. At today's prices it doesn't take a large increase to break even and then produce extra net profit."
The same fungicide can also be applied at tasseling time. Be sure to follow label directions when applying this or any other fungicide. Pay special attention to application windows if you apply around tasseling time, he says.