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Corn Approaching Tassel… Should We Spray?

Looking around the county,  I’ve noticed some of our earliest planted corn is nearing tassel stage if not already there. I had a few growers asking about fungicide applications and thought it would be a good topic to cover. Here are some ideas from UGA Extension Pathologist, Dr. Bob Kemerait:

Corn and southern corn rust:  We have NOT found southern corn rust in Georgia yet, but conditions are NEAR-PERFECT (tropical storm dumping rain, some of the crop approaching tassel, growers and scouts out of field).  Why only “near-perfect”??  It has been cooler as of late and cooler seems to hinder development and spread of southern rust.  We often find southern rust in early June in our scouting program, so I expect we will find it soon.  What to do:  Because we have not found southern rust yet in our corn crop, I am not recommending that all growers with corn at tassel stage (or soon to be) spray with a fungicide.  However, all growers should be aware of current risk AND they should pay attention to your alerts.  Some growers may feel the opportunity of disease is here NOW and go ahead and spray their crop.  Nothing wrong with that.  But I think growers who wait carefully are also making a good decision, at least for now.

Here are a couple of pictures of corn in Bleckley County. This corn is already in the silking stage (R1) and has began pollination and fertilization.