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Get Ahead of Early-season Wheat Diseases in 2022

December 15, 2021
Rhizoctonia on a wheat plant

Rhizoctonia in wheat

As you look ahead to next season, it’s helpful to know which key diseases could potentially impact your wheat’s root health, since healthy roots help produce more foliage above ground while fighting off pressures below. According to researchers with South Dakota State University Extension, crops are at the highest risk for infection during the first few weeks after seedling emergence, and although symptoms may not be noticeable until later in the growing season, you can get ahead of the game by keeping these early-season diseases top of mind.

Pythium root rot

Pythium root rot is caused by the pathogen Pythium, which can survive in soil and plant debris for years. Damage from Pythium root rot includes yellowing, stunting and poor plant stands in wheat. Since this disease thrives in cool, wet conditions, scout your wheat fields for stunting, yellowing, tiller reduction and poor stand when your area experiences excessive rain or flooding.

Fusarium foot rot

Fusarium foot rot is a widespread disease that can be found in all regions of the U.S. This disease causes the decay of the crown and basal stem tissues, and according to the South Dakota State University Extension, can lead to sterile white heads and premature plant death. Fusarium foot rot prefers drier soil, but infection can occur under many different weather conditions. Symptoms are dark brown lesions on roots and a dark brown or red lesion close to the first node of the plant. However, you may not see symptoms until after heading.

Rhizoctonia solani

Rhizoctonia solani is a fungus that targets the roots of wheat plants and is found in high populations in areas with less rain and sandier soil. Compromised roots are unable to maximize nutrient and moisture uptake, which can prevent wheat from growing stronger and producing more foliage. This disease also causes the yellowing and stunting of plants after crop emergence and much shorter, non-existent root systems, resulting in root rot and potential yield loss.

To prevent these early-season diseases from stealing wheat yield in 2022, we recommend CruiserMaxx® Vibrance® Cereals seed treatment. CruiserMaxx Vibrance Cereals contains 4 chemistries tested and proven to deliver superior disease protection over young seedlings and roots. Plus, it boosts RootingPower that helps seedlings grow stronger roots for optimal nutrient and water uptake for maximized yield potential.

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