Blog Post

Get Ahead of Pest Problems in Winter Wheat

This agronomic image shows wheat.

Meteorologists are predicting above-average temperatures and variable precipitation for the Pacific Northwest from September to November this year – just in time for winter wheat planting. Warm and wet weather combined with newly-planted wheat seed can create ideal disease and insect conditions. These pests can attack wheat seedlings early, long before growers know what’s lurking below the soil. Damage from pests can lead to late emergence, poor establishment and weak seedling vigor.

For the 2017-2018 winter wheat season, growers should look out for the following pests:

  • RhizoctoniaRhizoctonia lives as a fungus in soil, infecting seeds and young seedlings after water absorption. Capable of causing 20 to 40% yield loss, Rhizoctonia can cause germination failure, stunted crops, and reduced nutrient absorption and vigor.
  • Pythium – One of the most prevalent disease pathogens attacking cereal crops, Pythium can cause delayed emergence, damping off, stunted growth, and thin plant stands. Research from Washington State University indicates that wheat seeds left unprotected are likely to become infected by Pythium within the first 24 to 48 hours after planting in moist soils.
  • FusariumFusarium attacks the outside of the seed and the seed embryo. If infected with Fusarium, the seed may die, germinate poorly or encounter seedling blight as it germinates.
  • Wireworms – These insects can damage wheat crops, increase weed pressure and reduce stands and yields. Wireworms feed on germinating seeds and young seedlings, but crop damage isn’t detected until after planting. Scouting for these pests prior to planting is crucial.

Planning early with a seed treatment like CruiserMaxx® Vibrance® Cereals insecticide/fungicide can help young seedlings thrive through the most challenging conditions. Our seed treatment line-up can provide seed protection that stimulates quality root systems to deliver better emergence, stand establishment, nutrient uptake and stress tolerance to help plants overwinter better.

For information on custom blended solutions, talk to your seed treater or seed warehouse.

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