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Reaching for soybean yield potential using an insecticide-fungicide tankmix

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Delayed planting might lower soybean yields, but it isn’t likely to affect the timing or need for insecticide and fungicide applications for maintaining plant health late into the growing season and helping soybean cultivars reach their yield potential.

Yield potential might be lower than during years of ideal planting and growing weather, but controlling insects and disease is definitely going to pay for itself and more, based on results from several years of insecticide and fungicide application trials.

“We started using fungicides on soybeans after seeing success with their use on corn, and then in the last couple years we also began adding an insecticide with the fungicide on soybeans,” said Phil Petersen, agronomist with Cedar County Co-op, Tipton, Iowa.

“Last year we sprayed between 5,000 and 6,000 acres with the combination of Stratego and Leverage, and this year we are already scheduled to apply them on about 13,000 acres,” he noted.

Application of the combination is being done based on growth stage of the soybeans. When the plants are at the R3 growth stage, which might be a little later in the year in eastern Iowa and a lot of other areas of the Midwest, but not that much later.

Application won’t be delayed as much as some people might think, Petersen said. “Soybeans flower based on day length more than planting date. So, you get flowering at about the same time each year. It is the length of the daylight that makes a soybean plant go into the reproductive stage.”

The biggest advantage of this tankmix is it covers a broad range of pest scenarios, says Brian “Mac” McDaniel, Bayer CropScience technical sales consultant for much of Indiana. Regardless of which mixture component has the largest impact in a given season, the combination is better than either product alone, he says. The advantage is more consistent.

It hasn’t been uncommon to see nine bushel per acre increases compared to checks, according to Petersen and McDaniel. Both noted that these yield increases were in fields that at the time of treatment didn’t show much insect or disease pressure. In some cases, insects and/or diseases showed up later in the untreated neighboring fields, but not in the R3-treated Leverage and Stratego fields.

McDaniel says the results only have the opportunity to be better this year with the new Stratego YLD formulation in combination with Leverage 360, and because of the environmental stress soybeans have been experiencing.

“The big thing is that farmers are getting two modes of action against disease and two modes of action against insects along with overall better plant health,” McDaniel said.

Leverage 360 takes out both chewing and sucking insects such as bean leaf beetles, stinkbugs and aphids with a quick contact knockdown, and then up to three weeks of systemic residual control. Stratego YLD controls a large range of fungal diseases, including brown spot and frogeye leaf spot with long-lasting residual, too, by redistributing itself through movement in the waxy layer of the leaf surface. 

“We’ve never had better soybean cultivar genetics than today, and using this combination of insecticide and fungicide is a very cost-effective way to double up protection for high yields,” McDaniel said.

Logically, both products help with plant health and vigor, but Bayer CropScience has identified a unique Stress Shield property of Leverage for even more added plant vigor protection. The wide variations in soil moisture plus high and low temperatures makes shielding the soybeans as much as possible a wise move this year, McDaniel explained.

For more information, contact McDaniel at

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