Planning for Future Pest and Disease Pressure

Pests and diseases are a given each growing season, but the degree of the pressure can vary drastically. After harvest, growers should be planning for the best course of action to deal with pests and disease pressure. Effective planning and decision-making go a long way and can significantly impact success next growing season.

“Growing seasons are always unpredictable,” said Crystal Williams, Pioneer Field Agronomist. “And while I can’t control how much moisture we’ll get in May or June, I can plan for pests and diseases.”

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Knowing a field’s history is an important step to combatting pest and disease pressure. If a particular field has had issues with white mold in soybeans or tar spot in corn in the past, for example, growers should be prepared to select products that are resistant to those diseases.

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Selecting a portfolio of products can also help spread risk. Growers should identify priorities for each field when choosing traits or disease tolerance levels in corn and soybeans and should have a plan to protect their seed investment.

Fungicides, herbicides and insecticides will help ward off pests and diseases during the season. However, they should not be deployed as a last-minute rescue attempt.

“I wouldn’t lean on only one method of control for a pest or disease,” Williams said. “Layering an insecticide or pesticide with a traited product can go a long way toward combatting field issues.”

During the early part of winter is a great time to lay the groundwork for a successful 2024 growing season. While there is no simple solution for each field, having a plan going into the season can help growers be better prepared for the pests and diseases that will inevitably pop up.

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