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Corn Farmers Can Apply a Fungicide Just Once to Protect Against Foliar Diseases

Corn Farmers Can Apply a Fungicide Just Once to Protect Against Foliar Diseases

Foliar diseases, such as gray leaf spot, northern corn leaf blight, and southern rust, were estimated to cause annual losses ranging from 19,029 to 244,149 metric tons from 2012 to 2015 in Kentucky. To mitigate these damages, farmers have turned to foliar fungicides. However, as plant pathologist Carl Bradley explains, "Kentucky corn farmers had questions about the best timing to apply a foliar fungicide to their corn crop."

To answer this question, Bradley and his colleagues at the University of Kentucky established corn fungicide research trials at nine locations throughout Kentucky. They evaluated a single fungicide application at the six-leaf collar stage (known as the V6 stage) or at the silking stage (known as the R1 stage) as well as a sequential application at both stages. They found that treatments at the silking stage provided the best foliar disease control. They also found that the single application at the silking stage did not differ from the sequential double application.

"Our findings suggest that Kentucky corn growers likely can rely on a more cost-effective single fungicide application at R1 for foliar disease management and improve return on fungicide investment rather than making multiple applications at different times," said Bradley.

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