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Row Crop Disease Update April’14

As we are starting a new growing season proper disease management is a must.  Potential diseases and nematodes should be managed early to insure a good start to our corn, peanut, soybean, and cotton crops. Here is an exert from the UGA Extension Pathologist, Dr. Kemerait:

The 2014 field season is upon us and diseases, nematodes, and recommendations promise to have a HUGE impact once again for growers. My highest priority is to provide you, the county agents, with the resources and support that you need to adequately address the needs and the concerns of the growers.

1. Weather Conditions: Abundant rainfall and cooler soil temperatures early in the season will increase the risk to seedling diseases and stand loss; especially in cotton.

Growers can reduce the risk to seedling diseases by a) delaying planting until conditions (warmer soils, less threat of a cold, drenching rain) are more favorable for rapid germination and vigorous growth and b) use of fungicide seed treatments to protect the seed and the young seedlings.

2. Use of foliar fungicides on field corn: There are recommendations by some in the Ag Chem Industry to apply fungicides to corn at very early growth stages for the benefit of “plant health”. While I cannot say with 100% certainty that such use of a fungicide will not increase yield, I prefer to recommend fungicides at later growth stages for control of diseases.

Remember the following:
A. Corn growers who plant in late March or early April have less risk to disease than do those who plant in later April and beyond.

B. Growers with increased risk to Northern corn leaf blight (e.g., a more susceptible corn hybrid) should scout their crop and consider a fungicide application prior to tasseling; for example between the V8 and V10 stage. It may be possible to use ground equipment to accomplish this. NOTE: DO NOT MIX a surfactant or crop oil with the fungicide when applied prior to tassel in order to reduce chance for injury to the developing ear.