K-State’s Dr. Erick DeWolf with Stripe Rust In Kansas Wheat Update

(Dr. Erick DeWolf) This is really the time that we need to be out looking for diseases in our wheat crop. The wheat is now at the stage where the flag leaf is just beginning to emerge. We have multiple leaves of that upper canopy that are available. It’s those upper leaves that are really vulnerable to the attack of diseases. In many areas of central Kansas, we’ve heard that stripe rust, one of our major threats here in Kansas and throughout the region, is becoming established at low levels. Again on these upper leaves in a few cases but primarily in the mid-canopy down at the lower levels. When we start to see those stripe rust getting established at those lower levels this early in the growing season prior to the heading stages of growth that’s usually an indication that here in Kansas we’re headed for trouble with stripe rust. We’re also getting some indications that leaf rust is also on the move as well here in the state again primarily in central Kansas. We’re really encouraging growers to be out looking at their wheat over the next few weeks as their crop approaches those heading stages of growth that are so critical for the growth and development of our crop. The yield potential may, in fact, warrant a fungicide application. If we do get new to a situation where we have continued wet weather cool conditions, those are the type of weather conditions that favors the spread of the disease here locally in Kansas. If it gets established here that often means that the disease is setting the stage to move further north either into Nebraska or the Dakotas as well. What happens here locally in Kansas is important not only for the Kansas producers and their productivity of their wheat fields but also has a much larger regional effect up into Nebraska and the Dakotas as well and implications for the wheat producers in those parts of the country also. We’re really encouraging growers here in Kansas and I would say even further north to be out looking at their wheat as their wheat approaches those critical growth stages for fungicide applications. Let’s make a good decision here based on the combination of what you see in your local fields, what you know about the variety, the price of wheat and the options of flexibility you have within your operation to make a fungicide application.

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