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Moisture and temperature: Bad combination for crop disease

Photo Courtesy of Delaro

Ample moisture has provided an ideal environment for crop disease.

An Iowa scientist shares what growers can expect moving forward.

Excessive moisture and warm temperatures look to create more challenges this spring. Mike Weber, principal scientist with Bayer, says extensive moisture set the tone for disease pressure.

“We’ve had ample moisture throughout most of the Midwest, especially in Iowa. I’d say the first disease to come in corn is Anthracnose Leaf Blight. That’s been one of the first to have been noticed in a lot of corn fields, and (is) a precursor for what we’re going to see throughout the season,” Weber said. 

Weber cannot recall a similar year, as far as moisture in May goes. 

Regardless, he knows fungi and rainfall go hand-in-hand.

“The month of May was our big hiccup, as far as planting and not planting and then having a window where you’re able to get in and mud in crops in between rain showers. Rainfall and fungi go together, if you will,” Weber said. “One of the key elements of having disease as an issue is moisture. The more moisture you get, the more disease potential you’re going to see throughout the season.

Weber reminds growers of effective control methods available to them.

“Delaro is a dual mode-of-action fungicide with broad spectrum on both corn and soybean diseases as we get more into foliar applications within the crops,” Weber said. “Delaro has been well utilized in the marketplace. Our trials last year showed (for) corn applications, as far as yield, a 15 bushel average yield increase over untreated or even competitive treatments. On the soybean side, a six bushel increase under the same regime.”

Fungicide applications will need to be made later than normal, due to delayed planting.

“The key take home point about this growing season is we’re two to three weeks behind, so diseases are going to be later than normal in application,” Weber said. “Temperature is going to dictate which diseases we’re managing within corn and soybeans. We have the moisture (and) the pathogens are there.”