Wheat School: Do T3 fungicides pay in a dry year?

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It’s been a dry spring in Ontario and many growers are asking whether it makes sense to invest in a T3 fungicide for winter wheat.

On this episode of the RealAgriculture Wheat School, resident agronomist Peter Johnson notes that across the province, the crop has received below-average rainfall and the potential for yield-robbing fusarium head blight is reduced in the dry conditions. But with a forecast for cooler temperatures in the weeks ahead, the crop still packs plenty of yield potential that could reach the bin with moderate temperatures through grain fill and timely rains.

In making the spray decision, Johnson shares fungicide research work from University of Guelph field crop agronomist and associate professor Dr. Dave Hooker. In more than 300 research comparisons, Hooker’s works shows that a T3 application delivers an average yield increase of 8.8 bu/ac. Johnson notes that the work does not include newer, more efficacious fungicides that have hit the market in recent years. He feels they deliver an even better return.

But what happens to fungicide performance when moisture is in short supply? Johnson notes that in drier years, Hooker’s work indicates an average 5.5 bu/ac return.

In the video, Johnson works through the decision process based on condition of the wheat, soil quality and moisture-holding capacity, spraying cost, tramp loss and other factors. He encourages all growers to do the math and make the best decision for their farm. “On good wheat, I think the answer still is yes,” says Johnson. “But the answer is going to be no for some people.” (See video below.)

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