Wet conditions could trigger wheat diseases in Louisiana

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What a pleasure to see the sun shine every day for about a week now! Since Dec. 1, we have had about 24” of rain at the Ben Hur Research Farm, with similar amounts statewide.

I’m sure we’ve lost some wheat fields to flooding and the lower ends and depressions in others where water backed up for an extended period of time. Downy mildew will likely show up in those low areas as we move into the spring.

I have looked at wheat in Baton Rouge, Alexandria and Winnsboro within the past week, and winshielded quite a few grower fields on those trips. Wheat looks surprisingly good, given all that it has been through. Much of our wheat needs nitrogen now, along with continued sunshine to fully recover.

I would go ahead and apply at least 30 units of N to those fields that have poor color and/or growth, then wait a few weeks and see how the fields look before adding additional N.

Consider a mix of ammonium sulfate and urea in the initial application of S may be needed.

Here is an additional advisory on wheat waterlogging that Ed Twidwell, extension specialist, put together.

I spoke with Boyd Padgett, Extension Plant Pathologist, this morning. Neither of us have observed or been alerted to stripe or leaf rust around the state. Stripe rust has been identified in Arkansas and several other states, so it would be wise to scout fields soon.

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