BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Despite the calendar date, farmers need
to keep a close watch for corn diseases as the crop enters its final growth
Andrew Fisher, Syngenta commercial product lead for Quilt
Xcel fungicide, said disease is starting to show up later than normal due to the
Fisher said very little disease was showing up in late July,
but then became more visible later.
“What most folks I think have to remind themselves is the
disease spores could actually be inside the crop and be built to a pretty high
level for 21 days within that plant before it ever becomes visible on the leaf
surface,” he said.
“So the caution is as you’re scouting fields today and see a
handful of small lesions on a plant, be it gray leaf spot or northern corn leaf,
those spots will continue to grow and you could probably expect a lot more of
the disease to show up over the next few weeks.”
He recommends applying Syngenta’s Quilt Xcel at the R1
growth stage due to its two modes of action.
“It will actually stop the disease that’s already in the
plant from growing, and it will prevent any additional spores from coming into
the crop,” he said.
“Having two modes of action — propiconazole and azoxystrobin
— into one product goes a long way as far as giving you the optimal disease
control and also crop enhancement benefits of improved stalk quality.
“This corn is going to stand out in the field later than
normal this year with the delayed planting and so more growers are starting to
see the harvest benefits with Quilt Xcel along with the excellent disease
control that they’ve become used to.”
Fisher noted that some people say the fungicide delays the
plant’s senescence, but he believes it actually allows the crop to senesce
properly versus die early.
“It keeps the plant greener longer. It keeps it growing. I
always said it’s like keeping the factory working for you longer, and it goes a
long way at the end of the year in tip-fill,” he said. “With a 32,000 planting
population and an extra couple kernels per year equals an additional bushel. It
doesn’t take a lot to really add up.”
Fisher said the threshold in determining when to apply Quilt
Xcel “isn’t black and white.”
“The threshold is really the individual’s level of risk,” he
said. “Many growers will look at commodity price, but ultimately this R1
application has been giving us very consistent average returns of 14 to 15
bushels per acre.
“So if they see any disease start to show up at all or they
have a good crop and they want to maximize their yield through the end of the
year as far as getting their return on their investment, it’s a very good bet.
More and more farmers have made it just part of their practice.
“I’ve personally walked enough treated and non-treated
fields in the Midwest in all kinds of weather conditions including the terrible
experience we all went through last year with the dry weather, and I’ve always
seen a very, very good percentage of return on your investment and a percentage
of trials winning.
“I have no problem looking a person in the eye and say it’s
worth their investment year in and year out.”
The fungicide’s benefits were apparent during the 2012
drought based on the data he received from 80 on-farm trials, according to
“We saw about a 10-bushel increase from an early application
at V4 to V8, and again we saw a 14.5-bushel increase at an R1 timing. That R1 is
very consistent year in and year out,” he said. “We’ve probably had over 400
trials the last three year that had an R1 application, and every year it’s been
between 14, 15 bushels per acre.
“The early application — which is really more for stress
because there’s no disease there at the time — showed the biggest benefit last
year for V4 to V8 application. We saw a 10-bushel increase, and for the two
years prior, we were averaging around six-bushels-per-year increase.”
Fisher said the difference in corn that had Quilt Xcel
applied can be found in the roots and stalk quality.
“If the plant doesn’t have enough nutrients to feed the ear,
it will start pulling from its stalk. That’s what gives you that brittle stalk,”
“Spraying with Quilt Xcel has shown a benefit of making that
plant healthier and allowing it to give it the needed nutrition to maximize that
ear-fill and maintain some of the integrity within the stalk. That’s what helps
it stand out there later in the year.
“It was very visible last year on the ability to withstand
high temperatures and periods of dry weather. In the untreated, the leaves would
roll much quicker than the treated. The treated would still have an open leaf,
maximizing photosynthesis. It’s able to conserve most of the moisture that’s in