Corn School: Evolving fungicides deliver stronger ROI

Plant pathologists Albert Tenuta and Kiersten Wise

First there were strobilurins, then came triazoles, and now we have succinate dehydrogenase inhibitors or SDHIs.

That can be a bit of tongue twister, but it also adds up to three classes of fungicides and multiple modes of action that more growers are stacking up to bring stronger disease protection to their cornfields. That’s the verdict from the University of Kentucky’s Kiersten Wise and OMAFRA’s Albert Tenuta, two of North American agriculture’s leading plant pathologists.

On this episode of RealAgriculture’s Corn School, the pathologists note there are still strong fungicide products from single classes that do a good job, but there’s mounting evidence that products that stack strobilurins and triazoles increase the likelihood of growers receiving an economic return on their fungicide investment. When SDHIs — the new kid on the block — are added to stacks, early evidence suggests they can improve ROI even further, say Wise and Tenuta.

Wise notes that growers improve the chances of fungicides delivering an economic return when they target high-risk fields. These may include continuous corn, no-till fields with hybrids that are more susceptible to foliar disease.

Both pathologists also remind growers to follow best management practices to mitigate the risk of foliar disease. These practices include: selecting more disease-tolerant hybrids, maintaining diverse rotations, avoiding high-risk environments, stacking fungicide classes and correctly timing fungicide application.

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