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The economic return on a fungicide application is usually greater when fungicide use is based on the presence of a foliar disease. Fungicides applied from tasseling to early silking in corn tend to have the best possibility for economic return. If disease is present at later growth stages, up to R4 (dough), a fungicide application may be necessary based on if environmental conditions continue to be conducive to disease progression.
The exact yield response to a fungicide treatment cannot be predicted with certainty considering all the different types of crop stress and crop genetics.
In most cases, fungicide applications should be applied at or soon after tasseling for the best possibility for economic return. If disease is present in the crop and conditions are conducive to further disease development, a late-season fungicide application (up to R4) can protect yield potential. At this point in the corn growth stage, kernel number has already been determined, but foliar disease in the ear leaf and above could affect kernel size.
Use caution and read fungicide label restrictions as some fungicides cannot be used after R3.