Soybean School: Fungicide strategies for protecting yield

BASF Canada agronomist Ken Currah.

We know that planting a soybean crop is half the battle in getting good yields, but once it’s growing and the potential is there, how can growers protect soybean yield potential?

In this Soybean School episode, Ken Currah, agronomist at BASF, joins Bernard Tobin in the field at Oxford County, Ont., to talk white mould, staging, and fungicide strategy.

The conditions for disease development are present in the field that Currah and Tobin are in: it has a history of fertility; it has topography and the hollows are prone to white mould, and the canopy is dense due to narrow row spacing.

“This is a field that might be a candidate for some white mould management as well as just managing for yield with soybean fungicide selection,” says Currah. (Story continues below video)

Even with drier environmental conditions, with any moisture in a dense canopy, the temperature is about eight to ten degrees cooler than the ambient air temperature, says Currah, and depending on the time of spore release, the canopy is primed for disease development — white mould in particular.

Looking at the crop’s stage, around the R1 stage, it’s time to think about managing the crop for white mould, plant health and yield management, or both, says Currah.

For strictly a white mould program, where the field has a history of the disease, and fertility and the topography all favour development, and the variety is susceptible, preventative management means applying a product between R1 and R2, when the flower on those lower nodes is starting to decay.

A second product can be applied between R2 and R2.5, when there are flowers on either of the top two nodes, or the first flat pods are developing on the lower nodes, especially for those longer-season soybeans that need extra protection.

As for cost, and return on investment, a single-pass program is essentially covered by the bushels gained, says Currah. “Growers that manage white mould know that it’s a pretty devastating disease, and it is a disease of high yields.”

Click here for more Soybean School episodes.

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