Wheat Disease Update – April 27, 2012

Bob Mulrooney, Extension Plant Pathologist; bobmul@udel.edu

BYDMV
We have had several more reports and a sample of Barley yellow dwarf mosaic virus in wheat. Irregular patches of varying height reductions, yellowing and purple flag leaves indicate BYDMV infection. Since this virus is aphid transmitted there are no controls at this time.

Fusarium Head Blight
With the much needed rain that came and the forecast for more Thursday and possibly Saturday as well some have been asking about the possibility of head blight or scab appearing. The forecast at the present time is the probability is low. The corn residue on the surface needs to be wet for a long time before spores are produced that can infect the wheat at flowering and the temperatures need to be in the mid-70s for significant infection to occur. The temperatures have been and are too low now for infection. As long as the wheat flowers between now and next Wednesday when the forecast is for warmer temperatures the wheat will no longer be in a susceptible stage of development for scab to infect. I think the risk of scab it very low and specific sprays for scab control are unwarranted at this time.

Keep up to date with scab by visiting the website and using the 2012 Predictor. http://www.wheatscab.psu.edu/ This will be important if we should get more rain later in the week.  Make sure the predictor says 2012 across the banner. For some reason my browser is going back to the 2011 site. If you run into the same problem here is the 2012 link http://www.wheatscab.psu.edu/riskTool_2012.html

Leaf Rust & Stripe Rust
More of a possibility is the occurrence of some late season leaf rust and stripe rust. There has been stripe rust reported in NC earlier in the week and now a report of leaf rust and stripe rust from Mt. Holly, VA in university test plots. These reports are fairly close and after a big rain event like we had with some more possibly on the way we may see some develop within the next two weeks. If growers have a variety that is susceptible to leaf rust or stripe rust, there is a chance that we could see more rust two weeks from now depending on the temperatures. Again that might justify application of a fungicide at flowering if you have rust present now or are growing a susceptible variety. With the lack of water there may be undetected leaf rust in the lower canopy and with the recent rain there could be spread to the upper canopy. Be sure to get out and check the wheat before making a spray decision. Prosaro plus a non-ionic surfactant can be applied to wheat until 30 days before harvest; for scab control it needs to be applied at early flowering in 5 gal/A if applied by air. Tilt can only be applied until full head emergence. With the low risk of scab, strobilurin fungicides such as Headline and Quadris could also be considered for protection against leaf and stripe rust as well as tan spot, and the Septoria complex if those diseases are present, which have not been seen because of the dry weather. Be sure to check labels for application restrictions. Our past experience has shown that diseases that appear late (after flowering) usually do not have time to infect the upper leaves that are important for grain fill and reduce yield. If diseases are present in the canopy at flowering there is more of a risk of diseases reducing yield and/or quality of the grain.

Some information from Dr. Christina Cowger from USDA at NC State Unversity indicates that the following varieties are susceptible to stripe rust and might warrant spraying especially if any rust is present now. There are some gaps in our knowledge about susceptibility to stripe rust, so this is a very limited list of known susceptibility for varieties that are grown in the Mid-Atlantic:

Coker 9436, DG Shirley, NC Cape Fear, NC Neuse, NC Yadkin, P26R12, SS520, SS560, USG3209, USG3592, USG3665, SS8404

Freeze Injury
We just received a wheat sample from Kent County, DE with random bleached awns as well as tips of some heads. If you see some irregular bleaching of heads don’t panic about scab. We suspect at this point since no fungus appears to be present on this sample that the damage is from freezing. From spike emergence through flowering, freezing can cause symptoms that range from minimal bleaching of the awns to severe grain yield loss, depending on the duration and degree of freezing.(See Photo 3 in the article by Richard Taylor, “Another Risk of Frost on the Small Grain Crop”, which is in this issue of WCU) If normal kernel development does not occur, then freeze injury can be suspected.

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