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Tank-mixing fungicides and herbicides is the latest use strategy in the fast-developing corn fungicide market.
Yield boosts have long been shown with VT to R1 (tassel) fungicide applications, and in recent years, benefits have been realized with V4 to V8 applications, say crop-protection manufacturers. It’s the early applications that lend themselves well to a one-pass herbicide-fungicide application.
“There’s always been potential for disease protection and yield increases with early fungicide applications, but economically it didn’t pencil out,” says Nick Fassler, fungicides technical market manager for BASF. “Now that we’ve shown fungicides and herbicides can be tankmixed and save producers a trip across the field, there’s more benefit there.”
Unlike later applications, no-tillers can apply fungicide with herbicides at V5. Lower rates also are appealing.
“Recommended fungicide-application rates can be as low as 2 ounces at that timing compared to 4 ounces at the tassel timing, because there’s less leaf area to cover,” says Randy Myers, fungicide product manager for Bayer CropScience. “There’s no additional application cost, since the sprayer is going out to apply herbicide anyway. With the reduced chemical cost, it doesn’t take much yield to offset the cost.”
Sixteen Bayer CropScience field trials in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota showed fields with V5 applications of Laudis herbicide and Stratego YLD fungicide yielded an average of 15.1 bushels per acre more than weed-free checks.
In response to these and similar trials, other crop-protection companies are also testing fungicide-herbicide mixes to build application recommendations.