Wisconsin Winter Wheat Disease Update – June 6, 2018

Damon Smith, Extension Field Crops Pathologist, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Brian Mueller, Assistant Field Researcher, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Wisconsin Field Crops Pathology Team has been busy scouting and rating diseases of winter wheat this past week across the major wheat growing region of the state. To be honest, it has been pretty boring for our group. We have seen virtually no disease in uniform variety trials or in production fields. This is good news for farmers, for sure.

We have not yet confirmed any stripe rust infections in the state of Wisconsin, this season. Reports from farmers and consultants are also consistent with our observations. This is a considerable change from last season, when we found our first stripe rust pustules at the end of March. This early epidemic in 2017 resulted in some considerable yield loss from stripe rust on winter wheat. Definitely not the case this season. We have also seen extremely low levels of Septoria leaf blotch in the lower portions of the canopy on some varieties. Cool dry weather is preventing this disease from really moving up the canopy. No other foliar diseases have been confirmed on winter wheat this season.

As for the Fusarium head blight (FHB; scab) situation, risk as calculated by the Fusarium Risk Tool, has dissipated over the past week. Two weeks ago, risk of FHB had been estimated to be high on susceptible cultivars. However, cool dry weather has driven the risk to low levels across much of the major wheat production area of Wisconsin. Risk is high still along the Lake Michigan shore and up into Door County. Also elevated and high risk are estimated in Northwest Wisconsin on susceptible cultivars. The situation should be monitored closely in these areas on any crop heading into anthesis. Most of the wheat we have looked at across the southern, south-central, and north-eastern wheat production area of the state is through anthesis or will be by the end of the week. The FHB risk is forecast to be low through this period, in these areas. We will begin scouting for FHB damage in the next week or so, but we anticipate FHB to be mostly low in many areas, with some isolated pockets of higher levels.

It is important to continue scouting over the next couple of weeks. We are transitioning away form making fungicide spray decisions, but it is important to determine the level of FHB present in a particular field, so that proper harvest preparations can be made. We will continue to update you on what we find over the next couple of weeks. However, this is the lowest level of disease on winter wheat I have seen since I have been in Wisconsin. Scout, Scout, Scout!

Wisconsin Winter Wheat Disease Update – May 30, 2018

Damon Smith, Extension Field Crops Pathologist, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Brian Mueller, Assistant Field Researcher, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Warm weather last week, which continued into this week, has pushed the winter wheat crop in Wisconsin toward heading. Most varieties planted in the southern or south-central region of Wisconsin are heading, with full emergence and anthesis (flowering) beginning by the end of the week. We suspect that winter wheat in the northern and northeastern portions of the Wisconsin wheat belt to not be far behind.

Now is the time to consider your Fusarium head blight (FHB; scab) management strategy. Weather late last week had driven the FHB risk on the Fusarium Head Blight Prediction Center to a high level for susceptible varieties. Extremely hot and dry weather has forced the risk back to “low” today. However, 72 hour forecasts show risk increasing to medium in much of the wheat belt with high risk in isolated pockets on susceptible varieties (see figure). Rain today, with continued humidity and temperatures in the 80s F for the rest of the week, will keep risk elevated. Areas near the Lake Michigan shore will likely be at high risk.

A fungicide may be needed especially on susceptible cultivars to control FHB and reduce DON (vomitoxin) contamination. The fungicides Prosaro or Caramba have both performed well on FHB in Wisconsin. Timing of application of these products is critical. I would urge you to wait until anthesis has begun in your field before applying. We have observed poor control where application of these effective fungicides were made before anthesis. In fact, we have observed improved control of FHB and lower levels of DON in finished grain where fungicide application was delayed 4-5 days after the beginning of anthesis, compared to applications at the start of anthesis. Data from a fungicide efficacy trial to support this observation can be found by clicking here and scrolling down to pages 16 and 17. Also, remember that application of fungicides should be made no later than 6-7 days after the start of anthesis. After this time, fungicide efficacy on FHB and DON control is much reduced.

Get out there and SCOUT, SCOUT, SCOUT and monitor the FHB Prediction Center!

Wisconsin Winter Wheat Disease Update – May 24, 2018

Damon Smith, Extension Field Crops Pathologist, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Brian Mueller, Assistant Field Researcher, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The heavy moisture we have received over the last week, combined with high temperatures in the low-to-mid 80s F this week have pushed winter wheat growth stages. We have seen rapid stem elongation with flag leaves emerging in some fields in the southern and south central regions of Wisconsin. We continue to find wheat with little foliar disease. However, we are entering a critical time to make our first important fungicide decision related to protecting emerging flag leaves from foliar disease. Continue to scout. Weather has been conducive for some foliar diseases. However, wheat continues to remain “clean” then hold your fungicide application until anthesis.

Given the heat this week, I suspect that heads will be emerging for some varieties in the southern region over the next week or so, with anthesis to closely follow. The decision to apply fungicide will be critical at this time. Considering the wet weather and warm temperatures the “pump is primed” for Fusarium head blight (FHB; scab). The Fusarium Head Blight Prediction Center currently has the FHB risk at medium to high in the south, south-central and eastern portions of the wheat belt (See Figure). This situation needs to be monitored closely over the next couple of weeks as fields enter the anthesis growth stage. The weather outlook appears to be very humid, wet, and warm, which will only increase the risk of FHB.

A fungicide may be needed especially on susceptible cultivars to control FHB and reduce DON (vomitoxin) contamination. The fungicides Prosaro or Caramba have both performed well on FHB in Wisconsin. Timing of application of these products is critical. I would urge you to wait until anthesis has begun in your field before applying. We have observed poor control where application of these effective fungicides were made before anthesis. In fact, we have observed improved control of FHB and lower levels of DON in finished grain where fungicide application was delayed 4-5 days after the beginning of anthesis, compared to applications at the start of anthesis. Data from a fungicide efficacy trial to support this observation can be found by clicking here and scrolling down to pages 16 and 17. Also, remember that application of fungicides should be made no later than 6-7 days after the start of anthesis. After this time, fungicide efficacy on FHB and DON control is much reduced.

Get out there and SCOUT, SCOUT, SCOUT and monitor the FHB Prediction Center!

Wisconsin Winter Wheat Disease Update – May 21, 2018

Damon Smith, Extension Field Crops Pathologist, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Brian Mueller, Assistant Field Researcher, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Winter wheat in the Uniform Variety Trial located in Sharon, Wisconsin in 2018

The Wisconsin Field Crops Pathology scouted winter wheat in the uniform variety trials located in Sharon and Arlington, Wisconsin late last week. The crop was jointing at both locations. The crop looks very good. We found no disease at either location. At this time last year we already had a significant epidemic of rust started across southern Wisconsin. Thus, the winter wheat crop is looking much better than this time last year, when it comes to the disease situation. We also took a quick look at a couple of production fields in the area and those also appear to be clean. We have also received some reports of wheat conditions around the Fond du Lac area. Wheat is reported to look very good there as well with no disease. We will try to also scout uniform variety trials in those locations in the next few days.

Despite good news, weather has been conducive for the development of foliar disease the last few days. I would encourage folks to be diligent in scouting. I would expect flag leaf emergence in the next 1-2 weeks across the winter wheat growing region of the state. We will be entering a very important time to make a decision about your first fungicide application. Considering the current agricultural economy, the decision to spray fungicide is going to be critical to try to break even this year. I would hold off as close to the anthesis growth stage to “pull the trigger” as you can wait. This will help maximize fungicide use to control both of the major diseases of wheat that we see in Wisconsin, stripe rust and Fusarium head blight (FHB; scab). However, if stripe rust shows up after flag leaf emergence, it might be necessary to apply a fungicide before anthesis to control a rust epidemic, especially on susceptible varieties. Based on previous research conducted by our laboratory in Wisconsin, we know that an application of fungicide that closely coincides with the start of the rust epidemic can be very effective in preserving yield on susceptible and moderate susceptible varieties. Many fungicides are effective in controlling stripe rust, including the industry leaders used for FHB control, Prosaro and Caramba. Therefore, if rust doesn’t show up in your field before anthesis occurs, you can effectively use Prosaro and Caramba to control both FHB and a late stripe rust epidemic. The best case scenario would be to only have to spray fungicide once this season. However, there is still much time left, so diligent scouting is critical to make the best decision. Get out there and SCOUT, SCOUT, SCOUT!