As a result of prolonged cool temperatures in the spring, there has been a delayed onset of wheat diseases across Nebraska during this year’s growing season. Some diseases that producers have been dealing with include leaf rust, stripe rust, and Fusarium head blight. Now, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension plant pathologist Stephen Wegulo is sharing his tips for wheat disease management this fall, which may help reduce losses in the coming year.
Ideally, producers should be using certified, fungicide-treated seed. Diseases that can be controlled by fungicide seed treatments include common bunt, loose smut and flag smut. Growers may also benefit from controlling volunteer wheat and grassy weeds before planting. Volunteer wheat can be a host for wheat curl mites and viruses during the period between harvest and planting in the autumn.
As always, Wegulo says that producers should plant at the recommended date for their area. Planting winter wheat too early, for example, can lengthen the time when environmental conditions are favorable for diseases to sprout up. In these cases, growers may end up combatting fall diseases such as wheat streak mosaic, barley yellow dwarf and leaf rust.
Wegulo suggests considering disease resistance when select variety to plant as well, and planting several varieties that differ in their genetics. Finally, using an integrated approach to manage wheat diseases is what may ultimately help growers maintain their production levels throughout the season.