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Put Fungicide in the Plan for Tar Spot and Plant Health

Is a fungicide program part of the plan this year? It has become a bigger part of the plan in the last three years across the Corn Belt as the number of acres treated has almost doubled.

“A lot of that’s because of the performance we’re seeing from these newer fungicides on the market,” says Jared Roskamp, technical service representative at BASF. “We see consistency in that protection on disease. Also with tar spot moving there’s more value in protecting that because of how aggressive that is. This is become a big topic and more of a plan for more growers as they try and protect their bushels.”

Although the increased treated acres may have reduced the tar spot inoculant somewhat, last year’s weather played the major role in the drop in tar spot incidence. But Roskamp says don’t let the falloff lull you to sleep.

“Weather drives a lot of disease development especially with tar spot. I don’t think we had the conditions until really late in the year and so we saw a little bit of a delay. I think that’s a risk as we go into planning for ’23. If we get a lulled to sleep thinking that next year’s going to be like this year we may have a lot of Growers being reactive on a fungicide application and I don’t think that’s a good approach for a grower.”

BASF has two products for tar spot and general plant health, and getting it applied before the aggressive disease arrives will provide plenty of return on investment. Roskamp says they’re learning more about tar spot, but it all comes down to the weather.

“The one thing we’re learning as we’re still learning on this disease, is as we start to see it develop earlier in June we know that that typically leads to a bigger infestation in the year, and so we’re starting to maybe get some early bell cows to tell us. But until we get into the season, we won’t know, so that’s why it’s important I think to put it in your plan now, whether it’s Veltyma or Headline AMP. They both perform very well and then we can adjust the timing as needed as we get in crop and see how it’s developing.”

He adds the plant health aspect of their fungicides is a major factor in harvest yield.

“That’s where a BASF fungicide I believe has a unique advantage, because we can also reduce stressors on the plant outside of the disease control that we offer,” he said. “So in a year where we were dry we still saw a really nice response because we’re able to reduce those stresses and help still fill that grain and provide bushel protection at the end of the year. Veltyma is our newer product on the market. It’s got a new active ingredient in it we call Revysol®. It’s a long-lasting residual component so it gives us some wide window flexibility to start at tassel or slightly before, and we can use that residual to protect against grain fill.”

Headline AMP is an older product but still provides very good in performance because of those same plant health benefits that are built in. Learn more at the BASF website here.