Is Plant Performance Tied to Preventing Volunteer Corn?

Published on: 16:59PM Sep 07, 2010

Eric Tedford

You could probably say foliar diseases come with a lot of baggage. Not only do they infect your crops, make harvest more difficult, costly, and reduce yields, but they also have the tendency to haunt your fields the following year as well.           
Reduced harvestability and standability can be caused by disease infection. If stalk strength is affected, this can result in dropped ears, which returns seeds to the soil leading to volunteer corn the following season.  
Dr. Alison Robertson, a plant pathologist from Iowa State University, says foliar diseases are often related to stalk rot. Anthracnose is a good example of a highly treatable foliar disease that causes stalk rot and can lead to downed ears. The downed ears cannot be picked up by the combine and are left in the field to grow as volunteer corn the next year, diverting nutrients from the new crop.
The reduced incidence of volunteer corn is another reason you can spend less time worrying if you applied a strobilurin fungicide. In addition to the disease protection and increased standability and harvestability you will enjoy as a result of your strobilurin fungicide application, you may also have less volunteer corn. Strobilurin fungicides work to improve plant processes in addition to preventing and fighting foliar diseases. Healthy corn plants drop fewer ears, which will leave cleaner fields for you to plant in the following season. 
When you decided to apply a strobilurin fungicide this year you made a wise choice. Strobilurins are proving their value in the market and their ability to reduce volunteer corn forces foliar diseases to leave their baggage at the door. 
Last year, did you see a difference in standability and harvestability after a strobilurin application?