Erick DeWolf, Early Wheat Disease

(Jamie) Welcome back to Farm Factor. Meet Dr. DeWolf as he discusses the potential for early wheat disease across Kansas.
(Erick) The wheat crop in Kansas has really been dry this year and much of the growth and development has been ahead of schedule because of warm conditions this Spring and Winter months. But we really should be seeing additional heights to our crop. The dry conditions I think have held the wheat crop in check and we should be seeing wheat that’s nearly twice this size here at flag leaf emergence when the crop has its last leaves. More recently we had another freeze and with the more advanced growth stage we’re a little concerned about what that’s going to do to our wheat crop, primarily in central Kansas, where again the growth and development was well ahead of schedule. We also have had some significant disease problems to be watching as well. We’ve had stripe rust, and more recently leaf rust developing in the state as well, primarily at very low levels and the dry conditions have largely held these diseases in check for the moment. We want to be encouraging growers right now to be out scouting their fields, checking for the potential indications of stripe rust very low in those lower leaves, mid canopy, at this stage. It’s not a major concern if the disease remains restricted to the lower canopy, but if it does move to these upper leaves, at the time that the wheat crop is just entering the heading or early stages of grain filling, that’s a major cause for concern. It’s important for growers to be out scouting their fields, looking for the disease at this stage and if needed considering foliar fungicides that could help suppress the further development of the disease. Of course, the problem here is that growers in many cases are going to be trying to balance their lower yield potential because of potential freeze injury, because of recent dry conditions with the potential for offsetting potential emerging threats from these diseases. So, it’s really a case-by-case, field-by-field type of situation where we have individual growers making decisions. It’s very difficult to make blanket recommendations in that case because it comes down to yield potential, because it comes down to variety susceptibility and what level of disease we’re seeing in individual fields. I think right now the yield potential and potential for freeze injury are going to be the major factors that could suppress a lot of growers interest in foliar fungicides and suppressing that disease. So, hopefully the wheat crop will continue to progress, we’ll receive the rain that our crop desperately needs and the yield potential that we need to harvest our grain will soon recover as well.
(Jamie) Thanks for joining us. I’m your host Jamie Bloom and I hope you enjoyed today’s show. See you next week on Farm Factor – we’re here every Tuesday on AGam in Kansas.

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