Fungicide Use: Return on Investment in Soybeans

Farmer and agronomist evaluate field for results of fungicide use.

When soybean farmers in the South ask, “How can I afford to use a fungicide this year?” most come around to the reality that they can’t afford not to use fungicide.

Yield-robbing disease pressure is simply a fact of life in Southern soybean fields. Bond McInnes, fungicide technical manager with DuPont Crop Protection, says this common-sense logic is backed up by solid field research numbers.

He points to yield differences between treated and untreated fields of as much as 10 bushels per acre with use of an effective dual mode-of-action fungicide such as DuPont Aproach® Prima fungicide.

“But it’s not just the big disease hits farmers should be thinking about,” says McInnes. “Preventing small losses can add up to big gains as well.”

Consistent Control = Yield Gains

“Everyone worries about preventing big yield losses that can occur from a disease outbreak in any given year,” says McInnes. “But low disease pressure areas even in dry weather can see yield benefits if you use the right fungicide.

“Over the past four years, we’ve seen consistent yield gains from using Aproach® Prima under a range from high to low disease pressure — average yield gain has been 3.7 bushels per acre. That gain will help justify the cost of the fungicide application.”

Stopping Frogeye Leaf Spot

While small yield gains are important, the value of avoiding potentially heavy yield losses is undeniable. Just one example of big yields saved from disease by Aproach® Prima was at University of Tennessee test plots in 2015. At the Milan location, untreated check plots yielded just 38.3 bushels per acre due to frogeye leaf spot damage, while plots protected by Aproach® Prima produced 52.6 bushels per acre. Aproach® Prima plots were the top yielders among a range of fungicide applications, beating other fungicide treatments by 4 to 8 bushels per acre.

“Fungal pathogens like frogeye leaf spot, leaf blights, rusts, brown spot and other diseases threaten plant health and yield every year in the Mid-South,” says McInnes. “With both a premium strobilurin and a triazole, the dual mode of action package in Aproach® Prima offers broad-spectrum control that is especially effective at stopping resistant frogeye leaf spot in its tracks.

“The key to success is timely application of the full 6.8-ounces-per-acre rate at the R2 to R3 growth stage. Growers can be confident that Aproach® Prima will give soybeans long-lasting residual, preventive and curative disease control for top yield potential.”

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