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Wheat Journal

March 28, 2009
By: Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor

More Dough for Bread

Concerns about the price of a loaf of bread rising in conjunction with wheat prices have been stoked by recent media coverage. But national average bakery bread prices have outpaced the five-year increase in wheat prices by 50%, according to U.S. Wheat Associates. The average price of a 1-lb. loaf was 95¢ in 2003, $1.28 in December 2007 and $1.42 in December 2008. While the price per loaf has risen 47¢, however, the price of wheat within the loaf has gone up only 1½¢ since 2003. Overall, comparisons show that the effect of wheat prices on long-term bread prices is minor.

Blight Predictions 

Wheat growers can now predict the risk of Fusarium head blight, or head scab, in their region. Outbreaks of blight are related to specific weather patterns before flowering of the crop begins. Researchers at Penn State University, Ohio State University, Kansas State University, Purdue University, North Dakota State University and South Dakota State University have worked together to develop models that predict greater than 10% field severity. Growers can select an assessment date and choose a model for their specific wheat type and production practices. Weather data is provided by weather stations across each state to help with individual forecasts. The tool, along with additional model details and disease information, can be found at  

Control Head Scab and Leaf Diseases with One Application

Head scab and leaf diseases have a new adversary this spring. Prosaro fungicide—a combination of prothioconazole and tebuconazole from Bayer CropScience—has also shown the ability to reduce DON (deoxynivalenol) levels by 50% to 60%.

Randy Myers, Bayer CropScience fungicide portfolio manager, says the combination of two active ingredients results in broader spectrum disease control than U.S. wheat growers have had in the past. The triazole-based fungicide is already a favorite for disease control in European wheat production.

Beyond Fusarium head blight, Prosaro is also labeled for activity on leaf rust, stem rust, tan spot, powdery mildew and septoria leaf and glume blotch.

Myers says that Prosaro's active ingredients penetrate the leaf and are redistributed through the tissues, protecting both upper and lower leaf surfaces. "The infection process is stopped when the pathogen comes in contact with the fungicide,” he says. "The curative action halts the spread of leaf diseases to healthy plant tissue. Its

residual activity protects the leaf from new infections.”

Myers adds that targeting preventive applications for leaf diseases isn't practical because the plant is under attack from various leaf diseases for much of the season. "You really can't get ahead of them,” he says. The critical leaves for yield that must be protected from leaf diseases are the top two leaves, the flag leaf and flag minus one.

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FEATURED IN: Farm Journal - Early Spring 2009

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