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Night Spraying Fungicides





Farming Smarter Project

Timeline: 2013-2015

Study contact: Ken Coles

Collaborators: Smokey Applied Research & Demonstration Association;
Alberta Crop Diversification Centre South (Brooks);
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Lacombe


Application timing can have a significant effect on pesticide effectiveness. This project will use small plot research trials to evaluate differences in fungicide efficacy and crop tolerance. Three foliar application timings (day 12-2pm, night 12-1am, early morning 4-5am) will be assessed using three commercially available fungicides per crop in barley, wheat, canola and peas.


  1. To evaluate efficacy and crop tolerance of fungicides applied at three distinct times within a 24-hour day.
  2. To understand the linkages between environmental conditions and fungicide efficacy.
  3. To quantify potential yield effects, quality and return on investment resulting from fungicide applications.


Locations: Lethbridge, Brooks, Lacombe, Falher

Randomized complete block, split plot design, 4 reps
Main plot: fungicide treatments
Sub plots: application timings (day 12-2pm, night 12-1am, early morning 4-5am)
Lethbridge (Coles) – all crops,
Brooks (Harding) – all crops,
Lacombe (Turkington) – wheat and barley,
SARDA Ag Research – canola and peas
Barley (scald, net blotch): Tilt, Twinline, Quilt
Wheat (tan spot, spot blotch, septoria, stagnospora): Caramba, Prosaro, Bravo
Canola (sclerotinia, black leg): Quadris, Rovral, Vertisan
Peas (Ascochyta, mycosphaerella): Acapela, Priaxor, Lance

Researchers used hand held sprayers equipped with two meter booms, CO2 propellant and low drift nozzles to minimize drift. Fungicide labels informed the spray rates, application timing and other considerations. Nozzles were spaced 50 cm apart and held 50 cm above the canopy. Plot dimensions, number of rows, row spacing etc. were adjusted to accommodate different seeding and spraying equipment.


The major conclusions drawn from our study are: 
  1. Severity of fungal diseases remained low for all crops and across all locations during the 3-year study period.
  2. Crops yields were not affected by fungicides statistically. By extension, it means that under low levels of disease conditions, producers could avoid using fungicides without losing any yield potential while saving time, financial resources and the environment.
  3. In general, Twinline, Prosaro, Quadris and Prixor were most effective fungicides for barley, wheat, canola and peas, respectively.
  4. For barley, day time was the least effective application timing at all locations. Dawn applications at Brooks were most effective (56% of the instances) for producing higher yields compared to day and night times that both scored at 44%. Night time application was most effective at Lethbridge at (67% of the instances) compared to day and dawn timings (scoring 50% each). Night applications also scored higher yields at Lacombe (83% of the instances) followed by the dawn time (67%) and day time (33%).
  5. For wheat, no application timing seemed clearly effective.
  6. For canola, day time application was most frequently effective at Lethbridge and Brooks (78% and 67%, respectively).
    • This is followed by night and dawn times (day time > night time > dawn time).
    • Dawn time scored better at Falher in 56% of the instances compared to 44 and 33% for day and night times.
  7. Dawn time and night time applications were effective for peas.


Our study clearly showed that crops are not likely to respond to fungicide applications under low disease pressures and will most likely maintain yield potential close to the pre-disease level. Therefore, producers could avoid unnecessary fungicides expenses under low disease severity without facing the risk of losing any yields while saving time, financial resources and the environment. These results agree with several other researchers who recommend using fungicides only when damage to crop is critical and significant yield loss potential is eminent. In general, our study results suggest that fungicides applied during the day, night or dawn time would be similarly effective on barley, wheat and canola, with some advantage of dawn or night time applications for peas. However, because of low disease pressure, the study could not maximize the differences between treatments. Further research might verify these results.

Final Reports

Read/download the final report

Mike Gretzinger used a headlamp to help him see while spraying the night trials.

Night Spraying Fungicide Report





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