Blog

ProVision Agronomist Shares Tips on Fighting Tar Spot

By Josh Schulner, ProVision Agronomist at Hixton

Posted: 8/10/2022

Tar spot is a fungal disease that affects the leaf structure of the corn plant. This disease was first diagnosed in southern Wisconsin in 2016. At that time, tar spot was thought to be mostly cosmetic. It appeared as little black tar droplets on the leaves of the corn plant.

Then, in 2018, a severe outbreak of the disease caused substantial losses. Not until late 2020 did we see tar spot as far north as Jackson County. Again, it was intriguing but not a concern.

Last year’s infection was much worse and caught us completely off-guard. It resulted in the premature death of the corn crop, standability problems and yield losses up to 100 bushels per acre.

Today, evidence of this disease can be found in fields throughout ProVision Partners’ territory. Tar spot infections have been reported as far north as Chippewa County and have caused great damage to many corn fields. Exaggerated by other diseases like northern leaf blight and stalk rot, tar spot makes the crop die back even quicker.

What is ProVision doing? Your ProVision agronomy department is fighting this windborne fungus with a combination of tools.

First, we’re working with our customers to promote corn-soybean rotations that break the cycle of the disease. We’re encouraging them to bury infected plants with deep tillage, and we’re recommending they plant hybrids resistant to tar spot.

NOTE: Several varieties growing in our Answer Plots show good resistance to this fungus and yield as well as non-resistant hybrids. We can also provide application of fungicide by grounddriven or aerial applicator, whichever is best. In fact, we’re finding that two applications of fungicide during the season offers nearly perfect control of the disease.

Ground-driven fungicide applications require 20 gallons per acre of water, while air applications require 3-4 gallons per acre for the same coverage.

Aerial application reduces the need for a carrier. Air drafts penetrate the canopy of crop and give you better coverage. Airplane, helicopter or drone, depending on the scale, is usually better than ground driven, and there’s less wheel traffic, so you’re not running over the crop.

NOTE: Drones fit our area with some fields being less than 20 acres to apply, which fixed wing and helicopters don’t want.

Another Benefit of Drones

The other thing these drones will allow us to do is apply a cover crop to our highly erodible ground earlier in the season. Usually, we’re harvesting after the last frost, but a drone can seed a cover crop down through the canopy of an existing crop before it is harvested. That’s significant because it usually takes 5-6 weeks to establish a cover crop for before the first killing. By applying a cover crop, we can capture some carbon credits, keep our soil in place, and secure any carryover nutrients for the following year.

“Drones?” you ask. Yes. I do believe we’re seeing the future approach in leaps and bounds. The old days of the wheel driven machines will someday end if we can send these drones—and even bigger ones—out from home base (your local agronomy center) like bees from a hive.

ProVision will be one of the first . . .

Blog Archive

Celebrating National Agriculture Day - 3/20/2023

Equine Educational Event at MHS this Weekend - 3/15/2023

More Than Tires and For More Than Members - 3/13/2023

"Chick Chat" Event Returns on March 14 - 3/7/2023

Local Trucker Depends on ProVision - 3/1/2023

What to Know About Forage Inoculants - 2/24/2023

Celebrating our Recent Retirees: Dan Zierke and Arlene Krohn - 2/20/2023

Forecast: Rising Input Prices and Tight Supplies - 2/13/2023

Feed and Supplies for Life-style Animals - 1/30/2023

Cattlemen's Tour Views Grazing Alternatives - 1/27/2023

Progress Being Made on Various Provision Building Projects - 1/23/2023

ProVision Agronomists Receive Ongoing Education and Training - 1/20/2023

You're Invited to Attend Upcoming ProVision Partners Mineral Meetings - 1/13/2023

Winter Lawn Care Tips - 1/3/2023

Is Your Vehicle Ready for Winter? - 12/13/2022

Get Your Soil Tested with Help from ProVision Partners - 12/6/2022

Loyalty Programs Available at ProVision Country Stores - 11/29/2022

Earn Gifts for Gallons - 11/15/2022

ProVision Cenex Locations Get Fresh New Look - 11/7/2022

Concerned about fuel prices? Not sure what's going on with diesel? Nervous about when to buy fertilizer? - 11/2/2022

Hixton Feed Mill Construction Update - 10/31/2022

Benefiting Local Farmers with Drone Technology for Forage Inventory - 10/21/2022

Celebrating the 7 Cooperative Principles During Co-Op Month - 10/6/2022

Check-R-Board Days Returns This October - 9/27/2022

Silage Burndown Days - 9/26/2022

Harvest Safety Tips - 9/21/2022

Full Vehicle Service Available at Tire Service Center - 9/14/2022

YOUR CO-OP NOW OPERATES 11 CENEX C-STORES - 9/6/2022

PREMIUM PERFORMS AND SAVES BIG TIME! - 8/29/2022

DOMESTIC/GLOBAL FACTORS LEAD TO RECORD PRICES - 8/18/2022

Granton Cenex Location Makes Updates - 8/15/2022

ProVision Agronomist Shares Tips on Fighting Tar Spot

Home Heat Budget Pay Program Available - 8/10/2022

ProVision Can Help You Find the Fertilizer You Need - 8/1/2022

ProVision Retirees Share Wisdom - 7/28/2022

Heat Abatement in Dairy Cattle - 7/25/2022

ProVision Partners at Farm Technology Days - 7/11/2022

June Dairy Breakfasts - 5/25/2022

Construction Begins on Hixton Feed Mill - 5/13/2022

George Heil Named April "Employee of the Month" - 5/9/2022

ProVision Partners Feed Team Recognized at Purina Summit - 4/25/2022

Make the Switch to ProVision Partners Cenex Propane - 4/14/2022

ProVision Partners to Host Informational Meeting for Pond Owners - 4/11/2022

PROVISION PARTNERS HAS OPTIONS TO HELP WITH LAWN HEALTH - 3/23/2022

2022 Grower Meetings to be Held - 3/22/2022

Chick Days Returns at the Country Store - 2/10/2022

Chippewa Valley Ag Conference to be held in January
 - 12/10/2021

Granton Cenex Celebrates Grand Opening with Specials - 11/1/2021

Harvest Safety Starts With Each of Us - 9/7/2021

ProVision Partners Cooperative has purchased the Granton Convenience Store - 8/23/2021

Add Tissue Sampling to Soil Sampling For Better Crop Yield Potential - 5/20/2021

Do Wisconsin Farmers Have to Pay Fuel Tax? - 4/20/2021