Fungicide applied in the seed furrow when planting corn has increased in recent years as products and application equipment have become widely available.

The timing of the application is promoted to increase plant population, seedling vigor, and yield. Previous research in the mid-west has indicated that these new fungicide and bio-fungicide products may provide a yield benefit in certain fields, especially when corn is planted early.

Dr. Kiersten Wise, an Extension Plant Pathologist for corn at the University of Kentucky Grain and Forage Center of Excellence at Princeton, designed a study in 2018 funded by the Kentucky Corn Promotion Council to understand under what environmental conditions in-furrow fungicides will provide a benefit.

The goal of her research was to examine how planting date influences the efficacy of in-furrow fungicide and bio-fungicide products and measure the effects on seedling disease control, plant population, and yield.

Research plots were planted on three dates, April 20, May 2, and May 25, with six fungicide treatments replicated four times. The study included a non-treated control and Xanthion, Manticor, Ethos, Headline, and Tepera product treatments. Plant populations were assessed twice, at 14 days after planting and 28 days after planting, by taking stand counts. Plants were also visually rated for disease by observing damping off, stunting, or other symptoms of seedling disease.

The first planting date was originally planned for late March, but cool, wet weather delayed planting. Although delayed, soil conditions were still cool, wet, and favorable for disease development.

Of the factors tested, only planting date significantly impacted plant population counted at 14 and 28 days after planting. The mid and late-planted replications were 10,000 plants per acre more than the first planting date.

These differences were not attributed to disease development, as no seedling blights were observed in the trial. Despite higher populations, planting date did not impact yield, and in-furrow fungicide treatment did not create a statistically significant yield difference.

Although no statistical yield differences were observed, the yield was numerically higher for three of the in-furrow treatments in the April 20 planting date. Ethos, Headline, and the Tepera product each yielded slightly higher than the non-treated check, Xanthion, or Manticor. Yields were not numerically different at later planting dates. In the two later plantings, the non-treated check yielded the same or higher than all of the other treatments.

Conclusion of the research conducted at the Princeton research station in 2018 determined in-furrow fungicides did not improve plant population at any of the planting dates.

The April-planted replications had lower plant populations than the May planting dates but did not result in lower yields. While Dr. Wise intends to continue research on this topic, she determined yield response from in-furrow treatments is more likely to occur when corn is planted early into cool, wet conditions compared to later planting timings.

Sanitized Trays are the first step in Tobacco GreenhousesIt is yet to be determined how much tobacco will be grown in 2020, but whether you have more or less, the key is to clean your transplant trays. Most people are paying a service to steam their trays, but it is important to pressure wash them before steaming, removing as much root and soil-less media as possible. Any energy spent heating residues that could otherwise be removed is energy that could have been used heating the tray itself.

Aged trays with roots grown into the cells should be discarded. It is very difficult to heat the tray to a level hot enough to sanitize within the foam. Even if healthy plants are grown, the tearing action when removing plants from the tray leaves behind media and roots, making plants predisposed to slow, early growth. Steam is the most effective tray sanitization and is recommended if trays are reused.

Thoroughly heating the stack to 175 degrees Fahrenheit throughout and keeping the temperature there for 30 minutes is needed for optimum performance. After steaming, keep trays out of contact with soil to prevent recontamination. Pythium is literally everywhere. Trays with soil contamination or even dirt on shoes can introduce it to the greenhouse, making the time and expense to steam the trays a waste.

Don Wilkins, dwilkins@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7299

Don Wilkins, dwilkins@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7299

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