Evaluation of Foliar Fungicides and Insecticides on Soybean in 2011

January 3, 2012
ICM News

Daren Mueller, Alison Robertson, and Stith Wiggs, Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology; Matt O'Neal and Erin Hodgson, Department of Entomology

There are many fungicides and insecticides labeled for use in Iowa soybean. In this study, we evaluated common foliar fungicides and insecticides at six locations across Iowa in 2011 to determine yield responses to an R3 (beginning pod set) application timing (Fig. 1).

Figure 1.  Iowa field locations for the 2011 soybean fungicide and insecticide study.

Materials and Methods

The experimental design was a randomized complete block with at least four replications at each location. Details on variety and planting, application and harvest dates are listed in Table 1. Treatments (Table 2) consisted of an untreated control, fungicides alone, insecticides alone, fungicides and insecticides in combination and pesticide application based on aphid scouting (IPM). In applicable treatments, fungicides and insecticides were applied at growth stage R3 (beginning pod) at all six locations. Disease was assessed when soybeans were at the R6 growth stage (full seed set). Soybean aphid populations were observed between R3 and R6 but an IPM spray was only necessary at Sutherland. Total seed weight and moisture was measured, seed weight was adjusted to 13 percent and yield was calculated.

Table 1. Variety, planting date, application date, harvest date for six fungicide and insecticide trials in Iowa in 2011

Yield varied across locations ranging from 39.4 to 75.9 bu/ac in the untreated control (Table 2).  Differences were observed between pesticide treatments and the untreated control at the Sutherland and Ames locations (Table 2).

Foliar disease did not differ between fungicide and insecticide treatments and the untreated control at the Armstrong, Crawfordsville, Kanawha and Nashua locations. There were foliar disease differences between the fungicide treatments and the untreated control at the Ames location and insecticide treatments and the untreated control at the Sutherland location (Table 2). The two most predominant diseases found were Septoria brown spot and frogeye leaf spot.

Septoria brown spot did not move into the upper canopy before R6 at any of the six locations, thus it likely had minimal impact on yield. The average severity in the untreated control in the lower canopy was less than 3.5 percent at all locations except Nashua (7.5 percent) and Ames (6.6 percent). At both of these locations, fungicides reduced brown spot severity in the lower canopy, but again, disease probably had minimal impact on yield.

Frogeye leaf spot was found in a few locations, but was greater than 1 percent severity in the untreated control at only the Ames location (4.9 percent). All fungicides significantly reduced frogeye severity (averaged 1.1 percent). As expected, insecticides alone did not have any affect on frogeye leaf spot severity (averaged 5.2 percent severity). There were no significant differences in disease control between fungicide products.

Soybean aphids averaged 320 aphids per plant at the Sutherland location, which exceeded the economic threshold of 250 per plant. Aphids did not reach the threshold at any other location. At Sutherland, the IPM insecticide and insecticide+fungicide treatments were applied at the R4 growth stage on Aug. 3, which was 13 days after the R3 application. IPM treatments were not applied at the other five locations.

Seed moisture ranged from 8 to 11 percent depending on the location, but did not differ more than a few tenths of a percentage amongst treatments within any location.

Table 2.  Yield response for foliar fungicide and insecticide treatments in 2011


The results of this experiment illustrate the benefits of foliar fungicide and insecticide applications for the management of foliar diseases and insects. There were very small amounts of foliar disease across the state of Iowa in 2011 due to high heat and low rainfall amounts in July and August. Also, this was a moderate soybean aphid year across much of the state. At the four locations with very low insect populations and disease severity, there were no significant yield responses to either insecticides or fungicides. However, at the Ames location, fungicides reduced frogeye leaf spot in the upper canopy and the largest yield responses to fungicides were at this location.

Also, only one of the six locations (Sutherland) reached the threshold level to spray aphids and this was the only location where all insecticides had significant responses to insecticides. Using foliar fungicides and insecticides is an effective way to prevent yield losses to foliar diseases and insect pests. Also, only applying pesticides when needed can reduce overall production costs and preserve product efficacy for when severe outbreaks do occur.


We thank the ISU Research Farm personnel who assisted with application of treatments and Bekah Ritson and Nate Bestor for helping assess insect populations and disease severity. Partially funded by the Iowa Soybean Association and soybean checkoff.

Daren Mueller is an extension specialist with responsibilities in the Iowa State University Integrated Pest Management program. Mueller can be reached at 515- 460-8000 or by email at dsmuelle@iastate.edu. Alison Robertson is an associate professor in the plant pathology and microbiology department with extension and research responsibilities; contact her at alisonr@iastate.edu or phone 515-294-6708. Stith Wiggs is a research associate in the plant pathology and microbiology department. Erin Hodgson is an assistant professor of entomology with extension and research responsibilities; contact at ewh@iastate.edu or phone 515-294-2847. Matt O'Neal is an associate  professor in the Department of Entomology with teaching and research responsibilities. He can be reached at oneal@iastate.edu or at 515-294-8622.

Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Integrated Crop Management News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on January 3, 2012. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.


Daren Mueller Professor

Daren Mueller is an associate professor and extension plant pathologist at Iowa State University. He is also the coordinator of the Iowa State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. Daren received his bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996, and his master's degree a...

Alison Robertson Professor of Plant Pathology and Microbiology

Dr. Alison Robertson is a professor of plant pathology and microbiology. She provides extension education on the diagnosis and management of corn and soybean diseases. Her research interests include Pythium seedling disease of corn and soybean and Goss's wilt. Dr. Robertson received her bach...

Erin Hodgson Professor

Dr. Erin Hodgson started working in the Department of Entomology, now the Department of Plant Pathology, Entomology, and Microbiology, at Iowa State University in 2009. She is a professor with extension and research responsibilities in corn and soybeans. She has a general background in integrated...