Guard the Flag Leaf

January 31, 2010 06:00 PM

Pam Smith, Farm Journal Seeds & Production Editor

Researchers are finding it hard to target preventive applications in wheat because in many growing areas, leaf diseases keep the plant under attack all season.
Find it hard to keep ahead of leaf diseases in wheat? Targeting preventive applications can be tough when the plant is under attack much of the season.
Randy Myers, fungicide product manager for Bayer CropScience, reminds growers that the leaves to protect in terms of yield are the top two—the flag leaf and flag minus one.
"Since cereal fungicides do not move in the phloem like glyphosate does, one must get spray solution on those important leaves,” Myers says. "Growers should typically wait until the flag leaf is emerging or has fully emerged before spraying. If you can wait a little longer, spraying when the head is exposed will help protect the photosynthetic capability of the tissues on the head, as well as the upper leaves.”
Myers adds that the severity of disease pressure makes a big difference in control. "If the pressure from diseases, such as rust, is not too intense and you can spray at early flowering, you should be able to protect the crop from Fusarium head blight, as well as other leaf diseases, with a single application,” he says.
Last year Bayer CropScience debuted Prosaro, a broad-spectrum fungicide that halts the spread of leaf diseases to healthy plant tissue and has residual activity that protects the leaf from new infections.

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