Posts Tagged ‘small grains’

Small Grain Disease Update

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

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

Barley
We are getting more reports of powdery mildew in ‘Thoroughbred’ barley. This variety is very susceptible and growers have been spraying fungicides to control the disease and protect their yields. Tilt or other labeled triazole fungicides work well along with strobilurin combination products like Quilt, Stratego, etc. Folicur, which is a triazole or sterol-inhibiting fungicide, does not have powdery mildew control on the label for barley or wheat. Folicur (tebuconazole) is now available as a generic as Monsoon, Orius, Embrace, Tebustar and others. When small grains are followed by soybeans there are no plant back restrictions but if you are planting processing or fresh market vegetables be sure to check the label for what can be planted if a fungicide is used in barley or wheat.

Wheat
Disease activity has been light so far. Another sample of wheat spindle streak mosaic virus was received this week. See the article titled Viruses in Winter Wheat in WCU 19:2 for more information. The one control option for wheat spindle streak is planting resistant varieties. Seed company literature and web sites can provide that information. The University of Maryland has some ratings for disease resistance from their variety trial plots. Dr. Arv Graubaskas revised the MD list last December and it is online at: http://agdev.anr.udel.edu/weeklycropupdate/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/MDWheatDiseaseRatings2010.pdf.

 

Manganese Deficiency Can Worsen with Spring N Applications on Small Grains – Part 2

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Richard Taylor, Extension Agronomist; rtaylor@udel.edu and Phillip Sylvester, Kent Co., Ag Agent; phillip@udel.edu

Last week, we discussed the possibility that either the starter fertilizer or knifed in nitrogen solution from the previous year’s corn crop might be responsible for the row-like pattern to manganese (Mn) deficiency that we had observed in barley recently fertilized with broadcast nitrogen (N). We took soil tests within the rows where barley was alive and vigorously growing (good area) and between the rows where barley plants were dead or growing very poorly (Photo 1). The soil samples have been analyzed and support our original conclusion (Table 1).

 

 

Table 1. Soil test analyses of good and bad barley areas in field showing barley surviving on 30-inch row spacing.

Barley Area Sampled

Sample Depth (inches)
0 to 4 4 to 8 8 to 12
Water pH Mn lb/A Zinc lb/A Water pH Mn lb/A Zinc lb/A Water pH Mn lb/A Zinc lb/A
Bad barley 6.1 15.1 8.5 6.6 9.0* 2.9 6.6 5.0* 1.0*
Good barley 6.2 16.3 8.7 6.3 10.8 3.2 6.5 6.3* 1.3*

*Deficient soil test level

Photo 1. Barley rows generated following renewed spring growth and nitrogen application showing effect of last year’s fertilizer (either starter band or knifed in nitrogen solution). Barley between corn rows was either severely Mn deficient or had died while barley on rows 30 inches apart grew vigorously.

Another interesting factor showed up on the soil test results. While the visual symptoms resembled traditional Mn deficiency on barley, the soil test indicated that at the deepest (8 to 12 inch) sampled layer zinc was also deficient. For any crop planted after barley (soybeans by tradition), the grower should conduct a tissue analysis mid-season before the crop begins to bloom to determine if tissue zinc levels indicate the possibility of a hidden zinc deficiency that could reduce yield potential. In addition, the grower should scout the crop for obvious zinc and Mn deficiency symptoms so that foliar zinc or Mn can be applied as early as possible.

Zinc deficiency symptoms on soybean include the following:
· Soybean yields are considerably decreased in zinc deficient soils.

  • · Deficient plants have stunted stems and leaves with chlorotic interveinal areas.
  • · Later on the entire leaves turns yellow or light green.
  • · Lower leaves may turn brown or grey and may drop early.
  • · Few flowers are formed and the pods that are formed are abnormal and slow in maturity.

Manganese deficiency symptoms on soybean include the following:
· Manganese deficiency commonly occurs in plants in well drained, neutral and alkaline soils.

  • · Interveinal areas become light green to white and the veins remain green.
  • · Necrotic brown spots develop as the deficiency becomes more severe.
  • · The leaves drop prematurely.
  • · Soybean yields can be significantly reduced by Mn deficiency.

Both micronutrient deficiencies can be reduced or eliminated by either a soil application of the sulfate or oxide compound of the micronutrient at 15 to 25 lbs per acre or by a foliar application of either the chelated form of the micronutrient or the sulfate form of the micronutrient at 1 to 2 lb of the nutrient per acre.

 

Barley Leafspot Diseases

Friday, April 8th, 2011

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

As you scout your fields at this time of year it is often easy to find scattered brown spots in barley. Sometimes in wheat and rarely in barley, a minor disease called Ascocyta leafspot can be found on winter damaged tissue that can resemble Septoria leafspot but the plants grow out of it once warm weather arrives. The other brown spot that can be seen now is the early symptoms of net blotch. This is a very common leafspot of barley in our region. Severity is determined by the weather (it likes cool and wet) and the susceptibility of the variety. High nitrogen fertilization early will also favor development. Spot blotch rarely gets severe enough here to warrant fungicide applications. The symptoms that develop on barley can vary depending on the variety of the fungus present (there are several forms or isolates of this fungus) and the barley genetics. Later in the season we see the spot blotch form of net blotch (two leaves on the left) more frequently than the classic net blotch symptom seen on the two leaves on the right in the picture below.

Two leaves on left- spot blotch form of net blotch, on the right classic net blotch symptoms

Sometimes the only symptom development is a small brown spot or fleck that never enlarges or blights a leaf. This is thought to be the barley resistant reaction to the fungus infection.

The picture above, taken two days ago, shows the early symptoms on leaves before jointing has occurred. Typically, as the season warms the older infected leaves at the base of the plants will die and the new leaves may or may not develop more symptoms depending on the weather.

Will Your Crop Suffer from Sulfur Deficiency this Cropping Year?

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Richard Taylor, Extension Agronomist; rtaylor@udel.edu

Past and recent emphasis has been placed on reducing sulfur (S) emissions from power plants, diesel vehicles, and other industries. The question of whether the Clean Air Act and other programs run by the Environmental Protection Agency are accomplishing their objectives can be answered by the farm community with respect to sulfur emissions. The answer growers would likely give is that yes the air quality programs have worked, but so well that their crops are increasingly showing sulfur deficiency symptoms, especially when grown on sandy, low organic matter, non-manured soils.

Why is S critical for maximum economic yields (MEY)? Sulfur is needed by a crop when making certain amino acids such as cystine and methionine that are vital components of many proteins. The entire factory output (yield) of a crop is dependent on proteins that make up the chlorophyll molecule, all the plant enzyme systems, the plant’s genetic material such as DNA, the assimilation function of legume rhizobia, and all the inter-related metabolic activity in the plant. The ideal nitrogen (N) to sulfur ratio in a plant is 15:1. Above that ratio, the S concentration is not adequate for MEY.

Sources for S include commercial fertilizers, atmospheric deposition, and manures or biosolids. The movement away from the old superphosphate (16 to 22% P2O5 and 12 to 14% S) to triple superphosphates in the late 1900s and then more recently to ammonium phosphates and ammonium polyphosphates (DAP, MAP, and others) has reduced the amount of S fertilizer applied without us consciously being aware of the trend. With the success of the Clean Air Act, atmospheric S deposition had dramatically decreased even before the very recent change over to ultra low sulfur diesel fuel. In addition, the emphasis on nutrient management planning to reduce manure application rates due to phosphorous buildup in the soil and the development of programs to help move poultry manure to areas without manure resources has also contributed to reduced S application rates.

Who should be concerned about the potential for S deficiency on their crops? The answer is that probably everyone but especially those growers with coarse textured soils, with soils low in organic matter, or with soils that have received enough rainfall or irrigation water to leach S below the crop rooting zone should be concerned. For shallow rooted crops such as wheat and barley, it is especially critical to ensure that adequate S is available during tillering and early growth and development. Growers should consider adding enough ammonium sulfate to their normal nitrogen application to provide from 20 to 30 lbs of S per  A in the first N application split in the spring.

If there is adequate S accumulation in the soil clay subsoil as determined with a deep soil test, S fertilization may not be a yield limiting factor on deep rooted crops such as corn. However, this does not mean that early season growth won’t be improved with the early season addition of some type of sulfate fertilizer. Even in high yield irrigated environments, such an application could help improve yield potential or at least not limit yield.

Some growers will want to rely on soil test results to make a decision on whether to add S fertilizer. These growers should be aware that the normal soil test depth of 0 to 6 or 0 to 8 inches is not as good an indicator of soil S status as it is for phosphorus and potassium. Sulfur is taken up by plants as the sulfate (SO42-) ion and as an anion (negatively charged ion) in the soil that is similar to nitrate. It is subject to loss via leaching and anaerobic conditions (similar to denitrification).

Sulfur deficiency symptoms vaguely resemble those of N except that S, unlike N, is not mobile in the plant so symptoms occur first on new growth. Sulfur deficiency is most often described as stunting with general yellowing or chlorosis of the plant. For examples, please review the photos at the end of this article.

The choices available for fertilizing with S include ammonium sulfate and potassium magnesium sulfate (K-PoMag) plus ammonium thiosulfate, calcium sulfate (gypsum), magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts), potassium sulfate, and elemental sulfur. Sulfate is immediately available for plant uptake whereas elemental So must be oxidized by the soil bacteria (requiring warm soil temperatures and adequate moisture) into sulfate before plants can absorb the S. Organic sources (manures, crop residues, biosolids) must undergo mineralization into inorganic sulfate before being available for plant uptake.

Other by-products such as derivatives from battery acid are sold as S sources but should be evaluated carefully by the grower to be certain that potential problems such as heavy metal contamination, non-available S forms, or injurious compounds are not present. Even then the S form in some by-products will need to be converted into plant available forms by the soil microorganisms and if S is needed immediately or if soil conditions are not favorable for this conversion yield potential could be impacted negatively. Certainly, any form other than the sulfate form is not appropriate in-season when deficiency symptoms indicate the immediate need for S.

Photo 1. Induced sulfur deficiency in corn grown in sand culture. Note reddening of lower stem, general chlorosis or yellowing especially of new growth, and stunting of the plant.

Photo 2. Field corn showing stunting and general chlorosis or yellowing, especially of new growth on sandy soil in southern Delaware.

Photo 3. Sulfur deficiency in barley grown on a very light sandy soil low in organic matter in Sussex County, Delaware. Note general chlorosis or yellowing especially of new growth and severe plant stunting.

Photo 4. Sulfur deficiency in wheat grown on a very light soil low in organic matter in Sussex County, Delaware. Note general chlorosis or yellowing especially of new growth and severe plant stunting.

Agronomic Crop Disease Updates – September 17, 2010

Friday, September 17th, 2010

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

Corn
Corn harvest is underway so be sure to check corn fields for lodging potential by squeezing the lower nodes or pushing on the stalks. A simple way to do this is to walk through the field and, keeping your hands at chest height, push stalks 8-10 inches from vertical. If 10-15% of the stalks lodge, schedule the field for early harvest before a strong wind results in severe lodging. Drought conditions during grain fill put substantial stress on corn plants. In many fields, it is likely that the corn crop responded by cannibalizing stalk reserves to fill the grain. This results in a weakened stalk and greater susceptibility to stalk rot.

Small Grain
Be sure that you plant wheat varieties with high levels of disease resistance. Select varieties with high levels of resistance to powdery mildew, leaf rust and stripe rust. Seed should be treated with Baytan, Raxil, Dividend or other labeled product to protect plants from loose smut and common bunt. Varieties that are susceptible to powdery mildew should be treated with Baytan, Dividend or other seed treatment that will protect them from early infection.

Soybeans
Do not ignore soybean cyst nematode. Soil sampling after harvest before any fall tillage is recommended for fields to be planted next season to soybeans following this year’s crop. Do not plant SCN susceptible varieties without soil testing first. Soil sample bags are available from the county Extension offices for $10/ sample bag.

Soybean Rust Update
Nothing new has developed north of the North Carolina find on August 30. Florida had its first soybean rust detection on soybeans on September 14. Needless to say, soybean rust is not going to be an issue in most of the US this season.

Small Grain Disease Update

Friday, May 28th, 2010

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

After checking the state small grain variety trial at the REC near Georgetown I can report that there were several cultivars that had low levels of stripe rust and several with low levels of leaf rust. The recent wet weather may cause some localized outbreaks of stripe rust but it should be too late to cause much yield loss. All these infected areas were past flowering, mostly milk to soft dough stage, so it is too late for fungicide applications. There were low levels of speckled leaf blotch caused by Septoria tritici and low levels of tan spot as well as Stagnospora leaf and glume blotch. No head infections were seen last Friday. These too may increase with the wet weather early in the week.

Small Grain Disease Update – April 30, 2010

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

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

Keep scouting wheat for foliar diseases. Stripe rust is still a concern and is present in the South. Warmer weather will favor the Septoria, Stagnospora complex that causes speckled leafspot and glume blotch as well as common leaf rust and tan spot.

Last week I inadvertently did not include Twinline fungicide from BASF as another choice for powdery mildew control and other diseases on wheat and barley.