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Hill and Furrow

Corn Foliar Diseases: Identification and Management Guide

As the growing season rolls on, those producers with corn that is beginning to tassel may be thinking about plant disease and whether to add a foliar fungicide to their list of inputs in 2014.

Dr. Carl Bradley, University of Illinois State Plant Pathology Extension Specialist, has coordinated corn foliar fungicide trials at many locations in Illinois between 2008 and 2014. He summarized this data at the University of Illinois Corn & Soybean Classics conference series this winter and presented trial data from 40 different location and year combinations (environments) between 2008 and 2013. Carl's data shows that foliar fungicides had a less than 35 percent frequency of being profitable, what he defines as a yield response with a fungicide that at least pays for the costs of application, in environments with low disease pressure. Foliar fungicides were much more likely to at least pay for themselves in the 35 percent of environments that did have high disease pressure.

Carl's data suggests that it is a good idea for producers to scout their corn fields looking for symptoms of fungal disease to make an informed decision about whether to apply foliar fungicides. The online resource Corn Foliar Disease: Identification and Management Guide can help in disease identification and in making foliar fungicide decisions.

Additional Resources:

Find a video of Dr. Carl Bradley's presentation, "Fungicides for Corn and soybean—Does it Make sense (Cents)?" and a written summary of the data that he present on the Corn & Soybean Classics Proceedings website.