This message boils down to two parts - each as important as the other. First, farmer reports from at least some circles indicate good results after applying Headline fungicide on corn last summer. Second, don't base your decision on whether to use fungicide on your farm on just one report.
One central Indiana farmer tried it on one large field last year. He had the fungicide aerial applied crosswise to the way he planted the field. And he only had strips applied so that he could compare to untreated corn. There were two hybrids in the field, and part of the acreage of both hybrids was treated with the fungicide.
This farmer viewed it as a preventive. He hadn't noticed real disease problems, but was intrigued by other reports that fungicide might pay on corn. And he made his decision to apply it long before corn jumped out of the price box and shot up to $3.50 per bushel.
The yield monitor told an interesting story, the farmer reports. Strips of higher yield, denoted by dark blue areas on his yield map, showed up where he had the fungicide aerial applied. The entire field yielded well, but the treated areas yielded noticeably higher than untreated corn standing beside it in the field.
Yields in this field were just under 200 bushels per acre for the entire field, but well over 200, on average, for the treated corn. When he broke out one hybrid from the other, he discovered that one hybrid responded even more to treatment, but both responded well. Yield increase was at least 13 bushels per acre and most likely a bit higher, especially for the hybrid which responded the most.
Even at $2 corn, he would have netted a reasonable payback for applying the fungicide in '06. With corn at $3 or $3.50 per bushel, his payback was even higher. His figures indicate that treating with the fungicide likely netted him around $30 to $40 per acre extra, at $3 per bushel corn. That's more than pocket change.
Enough so that he plans to apply insecticide during the season again this year. Only this time he plans to treat the entire farm. At least that's his plan as he heads toward spring.
It's one farmer- one report. But it may shed light on why there was considerable interest in applying fungicide this past year for corn. It appears many others did like this farmer, trying it in one field or on a few acres.
Watch for more farmers to experiment with it this year, and on more acres.