Recommendations concerning wheat disease
As temperatures rise and winter wheat begins to break dormancy, a university specialist and Syngenta recommend growers keep a close eye on their crops to identify early signs of disease that may reduce grain quality and yield potential.
Due to the unusually long winter and late-arriving spring, wheat will likely move more quickly through growth stages as it reacts to more consistent temperature warm-ups, according to Brian Norton, Syngenta agronomic service representative in Kansas. Now that there will be fewer cold snaps that cause setbacks, it is important to scout fields early and often for potential pest outbreaks. Wheat plants determine maximum yield potential early in the developmental process, so it is especially important to eliminate potential disease threats and ensure a healthy start.
“Wheat plants determine the maximum number of potential spikelets per head at Feekes Growth Stages (FGS) 4 and 5, which is a key component for determining maximum yield potential,” Norton said. “It is important at this stage to make sure wheat is not being stressed by diseases and is utilizing water and nutrients as efficiently as possible.”
Some early-season diseases to watch for this spring include powdery mildew and tan spot in the northern states; leaf rust in the Pacific Northwest; and stripe rust in the South. These diseases can devastate wheat fields and may reduce yields.
Syngenta urges growers to proactively manage these diseases. An application of the right fungicide helps safeguard wheat against the yield-robbing diseases mentioned and Septoria. Wheat plants can maintain green leaves longer, improving plant quality and maximizing yield at harvest. Killing disease spores and providing residual protection has to be the goal.
Syngenta promotes the use of its Quilt Xcel, which has two modes of action for both preventive and curative disease control, to help manage wheat diseases throughout the season.
According to Gene Milus, plant pathologist at the University of Arkansas, an early-season fungicide application can be a cost effective way to manage stripe rust pathogens that overwinter in wheat. Controlling stripe rust early reduces the spread of infection to other plants and fields, keeps the pathogen population size low and allows time for resistance to be expressed in adult plants.
In addition to applying a preventive fungicide industry experts offer the following recommendations to help minimize potential threats from early-season diseases.
- Scout for aphids in winter wheat
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