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Pest Watch for 2017 Winter Wheat Planting

August 21, 2017
This agronomic image shows winter wheat.

According to The National Weather Service, meteorologists are predicting above-average temperatures for the southern and eastern United States and above-average precipitation in parts of the south 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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Aphids – Some species of aphids, including greenbugs, transmit barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV), which can cause underdeveloped root structure, delayed maturity, nutritional disorder and reduced grain quality and yield. Fall infections of BYDV are worse than the spring infections, but it can be difficult to tell when infection occurred because growers may not see symptoms of the disease until spring.

Planning early with a seed treatment like CruiserMaxx® Vibrance® Cereals insecticide/fungicide or Vibrance® Extreme 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.

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