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Farmers Cautioned: When it’s Dry, Don’t Fly

PHOTO: Crop duster at sunset
PHOTO: Crop duster at sunset
July 31, 2012

BISMARCK, N.D. - Even with drought conditions across the Farm Belt taking a toll on crops, many farmers still are using aircraft to spray for disease - but it may not be doing much good.

Plant pathologist Carl Bradley has compiled research during the past few years and concludes that spraying corn and soybeans in dry conditions isn't really going to help.

"We didn't see any kind of a benefit to using fungicides in very, very dry weather."

Bradley says the drier the crop, the less chance there is of any diseases taking hold.

"We just do not have the right environment for some of these foliar fungal diseases to be prevalent, and so I think it's less likely you are going to see a beneficial response when we are in this dry weather, and we are going to see very low levels of diseases."

He says besides the expense of the fungicides and the cost of aerial application, there is a constant risk of drift onto neighboring crops.

Bradley's report is at bulletin.ipm.illinois.edu.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND