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Source: Iowa Soybean Assn On-Farm Network news release

The potential yield-­‐boosting power from foliar fungicides has become well known to farmers in the past five years, providing Iowa's farm fields a defense against fungal diseases.

However, these tools must be used wisely. "Fungal plant pathogens can become resistant to fungicides, similar to weeds becoming resistant to commonly-­‐used herbicides," said Carol Bradley, Ph.D., associate professor of plant pathology with an extension appointment at the University of Illinois at Urbana-­‐Champaign.

Bradley presented his research findings to a group of farmers in February as part of the Iowa Soybean Association's (ISA) 2014 On-­‐Farm Network® Conference held in Ames.

According to Bradley, the threat and detection of soybean rust, combined with historically high commodity prices, contributed to the massive increase of fungicide registrations and production, even though rust has yet to impact the Midwest.

Throw in some big marketing campaigns from agri-­‐businesses, and farmers now have access to a tool that boasts improved tolerances to environmental stresses.

And the fungicide worked. Yields increased. But, just like any other management tool, good stewardship must be exercised.

"The largest corn and soybean yield responses with fungicides occurred most frequently when disease pressure (risk) was high," said Bradley.

"However, unwarranted fungicide applications can lead to increased risk of fungicide resistance." Pointing to research done in a Tennessee soybean field by the University of Illinois and the University of Tennessee, Bradley confirmed that the fungus that causes frogeye leaf spot, Cercospora sojina, has shown resistance to strobilurin fungicides.

More research is currently being conducted, but the concern now switches
to what production challenge will be next.

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