Corn School: Fungicide timing critical in highly variable crop

Challenging Ontario planting conditions may follow the corn crop through the entire season and cause 2019 harvest disease headaches for growers.

That’s the message Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs’s plant pathologist Albert Tenuta shared with growers attending a Huron Tractor combine clinic last week at company headquarters at Exeter, Ont. With corn planting ranging from early May to the crop insurance deadline at June 17, Tenuta says variability within fields and across farm operations will make timing fungicide application difficult.

On this episode of RealAgriculture’s Corn School, Tenuta says growers will have to get into their fields and scout often to ensure fungicide applications for gibberella, other ear rots, and leaf diseases are timed correctly. He notes that variability in Ontario’s winter wheat crop has created challenges for fungicide application and corn could also prove difficult.

“Growers will need to be more vigilant,” says Tenuta. He’s seeing a scenario similar to what growers witnessed in 2018 where delayed emergence lead to a late maturing corn crop. Slow crop development combined with cool, wet conditions allowed for gibberella infection at silking and slow grain fill that devastated many cornfields. (Story continues below)

Weather throughout the remainder of the growing season will play a key role in what transpires, but Tenuta advises growers to keep a close eye on all their fields to ensure their first application — at silking, before silk browning — is timed properly to manage potential ear rots.

Click here for more Corn School episodes.

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