Syngenta agronomists are concerned that this year’s earlier planting could lead to a greater chance for wheat disease development in the Northern Plains states. The main diseases to watch for this spring are tan spot, powdery mildew and rusts. Syngenta recommends that cereal growers actively scout fields and monitor websites for disease and weather updates to assess the need for fungicide applications.
Jill Henshaw, Syngenta agronomic service representative from Montana, reported, “We had a mild winter and the spring temperatures led to earlier planting. This year has also been drier than the past, which makes it easier to get in fields as the weather warms up, however it becomes a concern if there’s not enough moisture for plant development.”
Earlier planting also creates the potential for an earlier disease threat. Henshaw explained the importance of scouting and properly identifying plant damage. “Given the potential of our wheat crops, it’s critical to manage them appropriately to achieve high yield, quality and profit. Growers should use timely scouting to assess disease levels in the fields,” she said.
“The more growers invest in their crop, the more they will get out of it,” she continued. “We know there are two stages that are critical to end yield: Feekes Growth Stages (FGS) 2 to 5 and FGS 8 to 10.5. Growers should develop a disease-management plan that includes both preventive and curative fungicide options to protect their crop.”
Every year fungal disease spores spread across the United States, resulting in devastating yield losses. It is vital for growers to monitor disease pressure throughout the growing season and proceed with a timely fungicide application.
FGS 2 to 5: Spikelet Formation
Disease control in wheat is crucial during the reproductive stages of FGS 2 to 5 as the number of spikelets and size of kernels are determined at that time.
“Protecting tillers during this timeframe will help them become more efficient and possibly help the plant put on several more tillers, as well,” explained Jon Rich, an AgriPro wheat breeder with Syngenta. “A fungicide application during this time helps protect plants from early, cool-season diseases like tan spot, Septoria and powdery mildew.”
Syngenta offers a comprehensive fungicide program for cereal growers, recommending an application of Tilt fungicide, which has systemic activity against certain diseases, at FGS 2 to 5. At a rate of 2 ounces per acre, Tilt can suppress powdery mildew, late blight, glume blotch and tan spot, and can easily be tank mixed with Axial XL herbicide to provide one-pass disease and mixed grass control.
FGS 8 to 10.5: Flag Leaf
As wheat crops close in on maturity, FGS 8 to 10.5 becomes the most critical point, as this is when the flag leaf emerges. Protecting the flag leaf helps maximize yield potential as the flag leaf is responsible for feeding the grain, making it the most important contributor to final grain yield
“Quilt and Quilt Xcel fungicidesoffer growers two modes of action with preventive and curative activity. The increased levels of azoxystrobin and systemic-xylem mobility of Quilt Xcel provide better protection,” Henshaw explained. “We’ve also seen enhanced Plant Performance™ activity that helps wheat growers achieve maximum grain fill and profit.”
The two modes of action in Quilt brand fungicides offer a resistance management solution, while protecting from yield-robbing foliar diseases like rusts, tan spot, powdery mildew and Septoria, according to Syngenta. By combining the Power of Two proven brands, Quilt brand fungicides deliver broader-spectrum, preventive and curative disease control up to FGS 10.5.
As the Cereal Disease Laboratory continues to monitor disease pressure throughout the Northern Plains, cereal growers should ensure their crops are protected from diseases from planting to harvest. Combining a tank mix of fungicide and herbicide will save growers from making extra trips across the field. Sound scouting practices, attentive weather and disease monitoring and preventive and curative fungicide programs will result in a successful disease management plan throughout the growing season.