Farmers can add another tool in the toolbox. The 2014 Answer Plot Program by WinField provides reliable data to help growers decide if and when treatments are appropriate for their fields. Last year, for example, the data shows that fungicide applications increased yield and helped late-season plant health for most CROPLAN corn and soybeans.
In 2014, corn fungicide trials spanned 28 locations with 91 percent of the sites showing an average yield response of 5.2 bushels per acre. Results also showed that even when disease was not present, some genetic types responded favorably to fungicide.
Soybeans face their own challenges, especially when planted in the same field two or more years in a row. Varieties that have built-in tolerance may not be completely immune to loss under heavy disease pressure, explains Kevin Eye, the vice president of agronomy and product development at WinField.
For example, in soybean trials, 82 percent of Answer Plot® Program locations had a positive yield response by adding fungicide. One trial comparison between two corn hybrids with different genetic backgrounds showed a 5-bushel-per-acre yield variation in response to fungicide. “Knowing how each hybrid will respond to treatment can help farmers decide when they will receive the greatest return potential on their fungicide spray investment,” Eye states.
Many other variables, as well as other crops, are also tested and available for review. 37 corn trials tested effects of starter fertilizer as a hedge against environmental stress and tissue samples help growers identify beneficial timing to add nutrients.