Go fishing — or spray fungicide?

Deciding whether to spray fungicide can be difficult, especially when there isn’t apparent disease pressure, says Warren Bills of AgriTrend.

“Every year, growers tell me this decision is a battle,” said Bills.

Producers know fungicides work when conditions are right, but it’s a product that is applied before farmers know for sure that those conditions are right.

“So you basically have to predict what the disease pressure will be as you’re making your decision. In a year like we’re in right now, with drought in many areas, I would think the potential for disease is low,” he said.

“The yield potential in canola is dropping daily in many areas because of this heat. It’s a critical period for canola. This is a time when guys would normally be spraying their canola, but they’re holding back because of the lost yield potential.”

Bills said it doesn’t really matter whether the disease is there or not once a canola field drops below the economic threshold of 32 to 35 bushels per acre. At that point, there’s no return in applying fungicide.

He said some growers don’t want to see any type of disease in their fields, especially in canola.

However, if the crop is suffering from drought and there’s no sign of disease, then go fishing.

Other canola growers have more of an economic mind set. If there’s not an economic payback, then they might as well go fishing.

But in wheat, it’s a different story because farmers don’t want any kind of fusarium head blight. The economics aren’t just about crop at this stage. They also have to think about what goes into the tank when they’re harvesting. Wheat that has fusarium is downgraded.

“Fusarium head blight is more dominant in some areas than others, but outbreaks can occur even if you’re having a dry summer,” Bills said.

“In Manitoba, you have to spray for fusarium head blight regardless of weather. Most guys I know just spray. No special analysis required.”

For more information, contact Bills at 403-874-3848 or visit www.agritrend.com.

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