Corn School: Can fungicides help minimize hail damage?

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Ontario crops have experienced widespread hail damage in recent weeks and many growers are asking how they can minimize the yield impact.

In this episode of RealAgriculture Corn School, agronomist Peter Johnson takes us to a field of eight-leaf corn that has been shredded by a recent hailstorm. He says at this stage, yield loss is typically five percent and there’s no real justification for a replant. If the growing point is fine, the plant will push on and recover.

But are there management options growers can consider to boost yield? When plants are damaged, there is the opportunity for disease to impact the crop. In corn, the first thing that comes to mind is smut. Applying a fungicide on corn at the eight-leaf stage can help fend off smut, but the economics and yield return don’t really justify the investment, says Johnson.

If growers are going to invest in one corn fungicide application, it’s better to target tasselling when a much bigger yield benefit can be realized, says Johnson.

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