Use Response-to Scores to Make Decisions at Tassel

Mid-West Fertilizer Agronomy Team

Will it pay to apply a fungicide this year? If we could look into the future, it would be an easy call to make. Since that’s impossible, our best advice is to use data, past experiences, and a bit of common sense to determine the best course of action to protect plant health.
Start with seed
You already have access to data that can help you determine whether return on investment with a fungicide application is likely or not. First, take a look at your seed guide. Most companies rate hybrids and varieties for their tolerance to specific diseases. Seed choices with lower tolerance to diseases are good candidates for fungicide protection.
While the seed guide is a good place to start, AnswerPlot® data from WinField United® provides more in-depth information on your selections. Each year, WinField United® tests 240 hybrids across various seed brands to determine response-to-fungicide (RTF) scores. Unlike most seed guides, which base disease ratings on visual observations, AnswerPlot® data is used to calculate the potential yield response of a fungicide application by hybrid. The trials are replicated more than 200 times to account for different growing conditions and geographies. Data from 2017 Answer Plot trials showed a fungicide yield response averaging 11.2 bushels per acre across tested hybrids when MasterLock® adjuvant was included in the tank mix. 
Survey conditions and take action
Once you understand where you’re likely to see the best response to fungicide, it’s time to survey fields. Scout early and often, especially if environmental conditions favor disease development. Agronomist Rob Pitman says, "This is one of those years where I believe you'll see a lot of good out of a fungicide at tassel. When we're warm and wet like this, we're going to face disease pressure. We are certainly seeing it. It's also a good way to protect your crop from late season stress." 
Get the most value from your fungicide treatment by
adding an adjuvant like MasterLock® to the tank. Effective crop protection depends on good coverage. It’s not about the ounces of product per acre that you spray — what’s important is that the active ingredient is actually reaching the plant. MasterLock® optimizes droplet size to reduce drift potential and help ensure more product penetrates into the canopy. It contains a surfactant to help cover more leaf surface area. 
Our agronomy team is here to help you efficiently manage your hybrid to ensure that you get the most out of your seed investment. For more information about understanding RTF scores, fungicide application rates and more, give your local Mid-West Fertilizer agronomist a call today!