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eNews from Friday, July 22, 2011

Think Before Spraying Corn and Soybeans, Says Iowa State University and Iowa Soybean Association

Targeted News Service -- DES MOINES, Iowa -- July 21, 2011 -- The Iowa Department of Natural Resources issued the following news release:

Weather conditions are right - hot and moist - for gray leaf spot fungus to develop on corn plants. If weather turns cool and dry, soybean aphids could be next.

Even though conditions are right, spraying doesn't always pay off economically. Also, for a few applicators and producers, incorrect spraying has caused environmental problems and additional costs.

Producers who evaluate their fields carefully are in the best position to make economically sound decisions about pesticide application according to information from Iowa State University and the Iowa Soybean Association. Important factors to consider include the corn variety and its disease resistance, and crop history. In soybeans, it's critical to scout for insects to ensure proper management of soybean aphids.

With costs for aerial application at about $7.50 to $9.50 per acre and chemical costs ranging from $15 to $40, producers will need to increase yields by three to seven bushels per acre to pay for the application costs with $7 per bushel corn.

"If producers decide spraying will pay off, we're asking them to please remember these compounds can be extremely toxic to fish, crayfish, frogs and beneficial insects - anything that lives in or near water," said Jeff Vansteenburg, supervisor of the Mason City DNR field office.

Vansteenburg added that the most important thing is to follow the chemical label and avoid applying near water, including pond and stream banks. He suggests producers talk to their applicators and make sure they know where small feeder streams and grassed waterways could allow runoff to enter a stream.

"Most of the fish kills and resulting fines have been caused by aerial spraying where the pilot either wasn't watching the spray drift or didn't shut the application off when crossing a small tributary stream," he said.

Anyone seeing fish kills, or die-offs of worms or crayfish can report it to the 24-hour spill line at 515-281-8694. The sooner it's reported, the more likely the DNR can trace the source of pollution and reduce environmental damage.

The Soybean Aphid Field Guide is available on the Iowa Soybean Association's website at Winning strategies to fight aphids include using resistant varieties, frequent scouting, and increasing beneficial insects by improving the diversity of nearby landscapes and using cover crops or living mulch. To learn more about targeting foliar diseases of corn, check the Iowa State University publication CSI16 (

TNS mv45 110722-3499461

(c) 2011 Targeted News Service

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