WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Disease is a key issue for wheat growers, says a Purdue agronomist who will host a June 13 field day.

"Given the rainy weather conditions, Fusarium head blight will be a concern," said Herb Ohm, a wheat specialist who said growers should be scouting their fields weekly. "I strongly recommend that growers look for a fungicide effective against Fusarium head blight."

The wheat field day will take place from 1-4 p.m. at the Agronomy Center for Research and Education, 4540 U.S. 52 W., West Lafayette. Growers not only will learn more about Fusarium head blight, but also will hear about recent genetic research, see wheat in advanced stages of development and discuss issues facing this year's crop.

"Last fall was very dry, so the wheat didn't germinate and emerge until a few weeks later," Ohm said. "Right now, the wheat is about a week late and the plants are very short, so straw production will probably be less than normal."

Because disease issues are so prevalent in wheat, much of what field day attendees will learn centers on disease resistance.

"Fusarium head blight continues to be the most important disease for wheat growers, and much of our research focuses on more effective resistance to Fusarium," Ohm said.

Other research featured at the field day involves the inheritance of stem rust resistance, a study of early harvest wheat that could move double cropping to northern Indiana and a root architecture study that examines whether longer or more branched roots are more effective in taking up water and nutrients in low-fertility conditions.

"The field day is an excellent opportunity for growers to get up-to-date information and to ask questions about whatever they need to know about wheat in Indiana," Ohm said.

The event is free, but participants are encouraged to call Ag Alumni Seed at 765-538-3145 or Ohm at 765-494-8072 for more information and to confirm attendance.