To Spray or Not to Spray

ReachOut: To Spray or Not to Spray from Central Valley Ag on Vimeo.

by Mike Zwingman

by Mike Zwingman

Oh, friends. This year marches on. We will be tasseling before we know it.

As the year marches on though, so does the rain, and as we enter this crucial part of the growing season, I’m still concerned with the moisture and humidity. The damp conditions in our fields lend to foliar disease and I wonder what’s to come our way.

This isn’t a direct pitch to spray fungicide though. It’s a call, rather, to scout, to be vigilant, so that if the condition of your plants does start to decline, you’ll see the signs early on.

If spraying on a fungicide is a foregone conclusion for you, you’ll probably yet find some extra challenges this year. We’re comfortable spraying at tassel but identifying our usual cues will be complicated since our acres adversely affected by water this season will tassel later than our unaffected acres. What this means for typical practice then is that you might find yourself spraying at what feels like an unusual time. Maybe even twice if we’re unlucky enough to find something like gray leaf spot early on and Southern rust later on.DSC_0462

Because as you scout, who knows what you’ll find and when?

Your willingness to be unconventional then might be the ace up your sleeve when it comes to beating diseases in the second part of our season.

Like last week’s article, this is a call to pay attention to your particular situation as it develops. Sure, the scouting will take some extra time and legwork, but you won’t be caught off guard and you won’t be late to the party. Maybe you’ll be fortunate enough not to find a disease taking hold in your fields. If you do spot something though, address it, even if the timing feels a little strange.

If you do find that your situation warrants an application of fungicide, the product you use is as important as your timing. Using the right product the first time saves you money since it both preserves your yield and saves you the pain and cost of a second application (which might be necessary if you don’t use the right product the first time). You can get more information about product selection at the disease clinic that Central Valley Ag will be hosting in early July in cooperation with the University Extension Office. More than hearing about the benefits of multiple modes of action, the clinic will give you an opportunity to bring samples from your fields for testing and discussion. Ask your CVA Field Sales Agronomist for the specific date and time of the clinic.

I know that the prospect of battling a disease is no fun. As we enter tassel time, the stakes are high, and the decision to spray aBlue-Box-e1409667504172 fungicide is among the biggest management decisions we usually make in any given year. At nearly $20 an acre, it’s a decision that needs to be given the gravitas it deserves and a decision that needs to be made purposefully. Being intentional in your decision to spray or not will give both you and your crops the best chance for success at the close of this unexpectedly damp growing season.