Tools to Tackle Wheat Disease

May 19, 2010 07:00 PM

Pam Smith, Farm Journal Seeds and Production Editor
Scab alert! Sure, that battle cry would likely reduce a bunch of kids to sniggers. However, the same technology used by texting crazed teens can now help you wheat scab.
The US Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative just launched SCAB ALERT to provide advance notice of the risk of a scab outbreak by way of cell phone to those who sign up for the service. Sign up by going to to receive real-time alerts via cell phone and/or email based on the commentaries provided on the scab risk tool by state specialists. You can customize SCAB ALERT to meet your needs by choosing what you want to receive (by regions) and how it should be sent to you (cell phone, email or both).
Head scab is an important disease of wheat in years when warm, wet weather persists during the heading and blossoming period of wheat. Scab is only one of several diseases of small grains caused by species of Fusarium.
Severity of infection varies greatly from year to year. Severe infection generally occurs during the flowering stage and shortly afterward when two to three days of light rain initiates epidemics. Dry weather during this period usually removes the problem.
Wheat stripe rust is another disease that requires timely treatment. University of Nebraska extension plant pathologist Stephen Wegulo issued a warning this week regarding outbreaks in that state. As of May 18, stripe rust was widespread in south central and southeast Nebraska based on a survey of wheat fields and phone or e-mailed reports.
Prolonged cool, wet weather has favored and continues to favor development and spread of this disease in Nebraska. The North Central Regional Committee on Management of Small Grain Diseases (NCERA-184) has developed on fungicide efficacy for control of certain foliar diseases of wheat. The table is compiled and continually updated by the committee as new data becomes available. 

Randy Myers, Bayer CropScience fungicide portfolio manager urges wheat growers to evaluate spray tips and application techniques carefully as they apply fungicides. Listen to his suggestions.

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