Producers are constantly looking for ways to increase their yields while also reducing the disease presence in their fields. To help farmers with their quest, researchers in Missouri have spent three years with the “MU Certified” Strip Trial Program. This program showed that applying fungicides to soybean at the R3 growth stage reduced foliar disease and increased yield for soybean farmers.
University of Missouri Extension plant pathologist Kaitlyn Bissonnette said the results come from 33 tests across the state from 2018 to 2020. Trials show that fungicide application increased yield by 1.5 bushels per acre, with a 90% probability that the mean response across all locations was 1.2 to 2.2 bushels per acre.
The trial looked at fungicide-treated and untreated soybean. Farmers could choose which fungicide to apply at the R3 growth stage. Farmers control all other management decisions, said MU Extension nutrient management specialist John Lory, who leads the strip trial program with Bissonnette.
Soybean in strips treated with fungicide also showed less Septoria and frogeye leaf spot, said Bissonnette.
Farmers can find the complete results on the University of Missouri Extension website.
In addition to continuing R3 fungicide trials, 2021 strip trials focus on cover crop management in corn-soybean rotations, fertilizer management in corn, soybean, wheat and forages, and a soybean seed treatment.
The program uses on-farm research to help farmers improve profits and maintain the environment, said Lory. Local extension faculty work with farmers to lay out trials that work with the farmers’ equipment and provide guidance throughout the trial. Farmers replicate trials at least four times on eight to 12 strips.
The Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council and MU Extension supported this on-farm research with cooperation from Missouri soybean farmers and MU Extension faculty. Other partners in the strip trial program include the Missouri Fertilizer Board and the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council.