Farmer uses tar spot experience to prepare to manage the disease in ’23  

A northeastern Indiana farmer is using his experience with tar spot to prepare for the 2023 growing season.

John Bauman first noticed tar spot on his corn crop in 2018, but the disease didn’t lead to yield losses until 2021.

“We really got devastated by it. We had the correct weather conditions, and it got an early start on us,” he says. “It was probably a solid month or so earlier than years prior and that really took down a lot of yield. Insome fields we were off 40 to 50 bushels.”

He tells Brownfield his family purchased a high-clearance sprayer to be able to make fungicide applications.  

“We had seen some issues with availability in planes for fungicide applications. We thought we could do that ourselves. We were kind of in the market for a sprayer anyway and we went with the highest clearance we could get,” he says. “We got the fungicides purchased early and went into it knowing that we were going to be ready. If for some reason we didn’t need it, it could stay shelved but at least we had it if we needed it. We ended up making the applications and it wasn’t absolutely needed in 2022, but I do believe we gained enough plant health later with that treatment to make it a worthwhile venture.”

Bauman says he has a similar plan for 2023.

“We may change our timings up a little bit on the fungicide applications, but we’re still planning on buying the product and having it ready. We waited quite awhile in 2022 to make that first application because weather conditions were not favorable for tar spot to get started early. We may move that first application up a little bit and look at a second pass later to better protect the full season. We waited to apply fungicide this year and were okay with it, but next year may not be the same. We were intensively dry early in 2022 and that helped. If we’re not that way in early 2023, we’ll start earlier.”

He is encouraging other growers to have a tar spot management plan.

“If you don’t have it or haven’t seen it, you’re going to get it if you’re raising corn,” he says.

Bauman farms with his father and brother in Kendallville. They raise corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, alfalfa, and rye.

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