Farm Talk


August 27, 2013

To spray or not to spray, that is the question

Parsons, Kansas — Even though I grew up in Southeast Kansas, and have recently moved back, I have to admit that the weather has not seemed too familiar. My colleagues ensure that in my time away from the district this was not the norm. Recent rains have taken our soybean crop from a possible total failure of poorly palatable hay to what could be a great yielding crop. Along with that rain came cool temperatures which are the ideal growing conditions for fungus. The question that many producers are facing is whether or not to apply foliar fungicide, and according to a group of K-State Research and Extension specialists, the answer is: possibly.

Doug Shoup, Southeast Area Crops and Soils Specialist, Stu Duncan, Northeast Area Crops and Soils Specialist, Doug Jardine, Plant Pathologist, and Jeff Whitworth, Entomologist recently reported on foliar fungicide use in soybeans. They tested fungicide application at R2 (full bloom) through R4 (full pod formation) across many locations in central and eastern Kansas from 2007 to 2012. They readily admit the data is not cut and dry with occasional results of large increases (greater than 5 bu./acre) or no response at all (or even a negative yield affect). Complicating the matter was the fact that the yield responses don’t always seem tied to visual presence of the diseases.

If producers decide that they want to apply fungicide, the type of fungicide is very important. Most of the yield increases within the trials were found when stobilurin containing fungicides (Headline, Priaxor, Quilt XCEL, Quadris, Stratego YLD, Approach, and others) as opposed to the less expensive triazole containing fungicides. However, the specialists pointed out that one side effect of apply strobilurin containing fungicides is that they often delay maturity. Compounding this is the fact that many beans were planted later than intended this year so producers must factor that into their decisions.

R3 (beginning pod formation) is a very important stage for determining yield. At this stage and beyond, producers need to scout for pod-feeding insects like corn earworm (called podworm when found in beans), stinkbug, and bean leaf beetle. Because of producer interest, the specialists included the added variable of insecticide application at R3. The economic threshold for stink bug and bean leaf beetle the threshold is 1 insect per three feet of 30 inch row, and for corn earworm is 1 worm per foot of 30 inch row (although it could be argued that finding any earworm in beans would justify spraying). The specialists found no statistical difference between the untreated check and the plots where insecticides were applied. They did grant, however, that the insect pressure was far below the recommended thresholds so this result was not terribly surprising.

In summary, the decision rests solely on the producers shoulders. It is a gamble so to speak. The application and product may cost the producer $20 or so per acre, and even at today’s good bean prices ($12 or even more), a return 1 and 2/3 bushel would be the breakeven point. Frankly, there is no guarantee of garnering a return from the spray, but when is there ever a guarantee in agriculture? Interestingly, the recent stretch of warmer, drier temperatures may take care of the fungal issues for producers without the need for spray.

If you have questions or would like more information, please call me at the office 620-724-8233, or e-mail me at, or visit the Wildcat Extension District Website at £

Text Only
  • Scientists complete chromosome based draft of wheat genome

    Several Kansas State University researchers were essential in helping scientists assemble a draft of a genetic blueprint of bread wheat, also known as common wheat. The food plant is grown on more than 531 million acres around the world and produces nearly 700 million tons of food each year.
    The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, which also includes faculty at Kansas State University, recently published a chromosome-based draft sequence of wheat's genetic code, which is called a genome. "A chromosome-based draft sequence of the hexaploid bread wheat genome" is one of four papers about the wheat genome that appear in the journal Science.

    July 22, 2014

  • Drought & poor wheat harvest in Kan. has effects on nat’l economy

    The Kansas wheat harvest may be one of the worst on record — and the loss doesn't just hurt Kansas, according to a Kansas State University expert.

    July 15, 2014

  • Watch for corn leaf diseases

    In general, corn in southeast Kansas looks about as healthy as any reasonable producer might hope.

    July 1, 2014

  • Consider wind when applying herbicides

    Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Barton County, scouted fields west of Lockwood on June 18 for the crop scouting program.

    June 24, 2014

  • WheatTour-007.jpg SW Mo. wheat tour yields nutrient tips

    Laying down nitrogen on the wheat fields is quite possibly one of the most complex and critical operations facing producers.

    June 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • Corn planting nears completion, early condition good

    With corn planting nearly complete and emergence keeping pace with the five-year average, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its first forecast for the condition of the 2014 U.S. corn crop.

    June 10, 2014

  • Harvesting short wheat

    In many areas of Kansas, prolonged drought has resulted in short wheat and thin stands. Harvesting wheat in these situations can be a challenge.

    June 3, 2014

  • Controlling large weeds in Roundup Ready soybeans

    Controlling large weeds is often considerably more difficult than controlling smal-ler weeds. The following are some suggestions for controlling larger troublesome weeds in soybeans.

    May 28, 2014

  • aflatoxin-corn.jpg Aflatoxin risk looms large for corn growers

    To diversify their farms and tap into high demand for one of agriculture’s most profitable crops, dryland farmers more familiar with growing wheat and milo are eager to try their hand at corn.

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kan. wheat crop smallest since 1996

    WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is expected to produce its smallest winter wheat crop since 1996, an indication of a deepening drought across the nation's wheat belt, the government said in its first official forecast of the growing season.

    May 13, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content