When thinking about fungicide and plant disease, our goal is to avoid having the disease at all. Even a little disease pressure can stress your crop and take away some of its yield potential. If you have big yield goals this season, you need to make a spray decision before you see symptoms in the field. Here’s how:
1. Use the disease triangle
You’ve probably seen this diagram hundreds of times before, but it’s still the #1 tool I reference when helping farmers make spray decisions. If you have all the points of the triangle – the host crop, the presence of the disease in your area and environmental conditions that favour disease – you need to spray.
It’s important to note that some diseases are more affected by the triangle points than others, like Ascochyta blight in pulses. If you’ve had the inoculum in your area and you’re growing pulses, there’s a strong likelihood your crop will need the protection of a fungicide. Ascochyta blight can strike even when it’s moderately dry outside.
Delaro™ and Priaxor® are two new products for the pulse market that offer multi-disease control. Talk to an agronomist about other sneaky diseases that defy the triangle and might threaten your crop.
2. Get the timing down pat
Once you’ve made the decision to spray, timing is everything. Fungicides don’t have much curative action – they’re only effective when you follow the label and spray at the correct stage. Products like Prosaro® and Caramba® need to be applied during the early flowering window, which can be as short as three days, if you want to prevent fusarium head blight in wheat. Whereas, if leaf disease is your main concern, products like Twinline and Quilt need to be sprayed at the flag leaf stage for maximum benefit.
The better your timing, the better your disease suppression. Here are a couple of tips that can help:
- Know your product labels and what to look for in the field.
- Get an agronomist to help with staging and prioritizing fields so you can get all your acres sprayed.
3. Adjust your equipment settings for better coverage
Coverage also affects your fungicide efficacy. When the crop canopy closes, or you have big bushy canola plants, take some time to find the perfect sprayer settings. Here are a couple of things to consider:
- Get the correct water volumes for your equipment and the conditions.
- Match your nozzles to your sprayer machinery and the conditions.
Proline®, Lance® and Acapela® are great products, but we need to do a good job with application to get the best sclerotinia protection. Talk to your equipment dealer for help adjusting your equipment settings.
4. Make sure your crop input layers work together
I recommend you look at your crop inputs as layers, or as moves on a chessboard. Each maneuver is affected by the one that came before it, and it affects the one after. When you think strategically, you’ll get the best results and the best return on your seed, fertilizer and crop protection investment. Your seed treatment gave your crop a strong start, and now your fungicide will continue protecting it all season. For more advice on layering and strategy, read my blog post on seed treatment.
5. Choose the right fungicide for the disease
Not every fungicide controls every disease. We need to ensure we’re choosing the right fungicide to target the right pathogen. There are a lot of options in the market, even if you choose a good quality product, it might not be the best fit for your farm and field.
I encourage you to talk to an agronomist. They scout a lot of fields, talk to a lot of customers and attend a lot of research trials. They can tell you which pathogens have been seen in the area and can help you choose products that fit your yield goals and budget. Contact your local Cargill retail location or call 1-888-855-8558 to connect with an agronomist in your region.
Always read and follow label directions. Delaro™ is a trademark of the Bayer Group. Prosaro® and Proline® are registered trademarks of the Bayer Group. Priaxor®, Caramba® and Lance® are registered trademarks of BASF SE. Acapella® is a registered trademark of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company.