It’s no secret that when it comes to fungicide applications in soybeans, timing is a critical factor. According to Beck’s Practical Farm Research (PFR) 7-year data, applying a fungicide at the R3 growth stage shows a return on investment of $17.68 per acre.
For years, Beck’s PFR has evaluated fungicide products and practices. Fungicides primarily prevent or mitigate disease pressure, but they can also increase water use efficiency, photosynthesis, nitrate reductase activity, increase the window for grain fill, and improve stress tolerance.
“The R3 growth stage is the key time to apply a fungicide in soybeans and will last approximately ten days, said Chad Kalaher, field agronomist at Beck’s.” It’s crucial to target this window to experience a consistent response year in, year out.”
Beck’s PFR data concludes time of day can bring opportunity for profitability when applied early in the morning
Nearly 70% of a soybean plant’s yield comes from nodes 6 to 13. Many of the uppermost nodes of this region of the plant do not exist at R2 (full flower); therefore, a fungicide application this early has a limited impact on pod retention and seed size. Conversely, at R4 (full pod), many of the lower nodes of this region are too far along in pod development for a fungicide to have a meaningful impact.
Beck’s PFR data also found that the time of day a fungicide application is made can also significantly impact final soybean yields. 3-year multi-location fungicide time of day showed a $12.97 per acre advantage when sprayed at 8 a.m. versus $7.63 per acre at 3 p.m.
“By applying fungicide at 8 a.m. after a heavy dew when the stomates of the plant are open, we have seen additional coverage on the soybean plant,” said Collin Scherer, PFR location lead at Beck’s. “This additional coverage also has the potential for reduced carrier rates. PFR data indicates that 15-20 gallons of carrier rate is the sweet spot."
To review components of fungicide applications, watch a recent episode of The Dig, a series dedicated to helping farmers improve ROI on their farm.