Nearly 200 “independent field studies” indicate an early-season application of a fungicide can increase corn yield by an average of 6.8 bushels per acre.

The fungicide application studied was for application to the corn in its V4 to V7 stage of growth, which some agronomists classify as the “vital yield-establishing stages” when corn is very susceptible to environmental stresses—even if there are no visible signs of diseases at the time of application.

The field studies have been overseen by Bayer CropScience using Stratego YLD fungicide. In 86.7 percent of the field trials there was a positive yield response to the fungicide being used.

Many ag retailers have become believers in an early-season fungicide application.

Travis Buchholz, a farmer and retailer in Fergus Falls, Minn., knows that not using an early-season fungicide costs him yield and profit. “I’ve had a six to seven-bushel increase [with Stratego YLD]. In the days of $7 corn that was a lot of money. But even in the days of $3 corn that pays for itself three times. No matter what commodity prices are, it’s just a no brainer,” Buchholz said.

If corn prices were as low at $3 a bushel, a grower would receive a return on investment of $12.35 per acre with a 6.8 bushel increase in yield. At $4 per bushel, the ROI would be $19.15 per acre, notes Bayer CropScience.

ROI relates to a smaller volume of fungicide being needed when corn plants are small, and the potential ROI could be improved by mixing the fungicide with a postemergence herbicide to eliminate a special pass across the field, noted Jody Wynia, corn marketing manager, Bayer CropScience.