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Three Ways to Protect Wheat from Disease in 2020

March 18, 2020
This agronomic image shows wheat stalks

From tough weather conditions to high disease pressure, the 2019 season will be one to remember. Last season’s high inoculum levels may still have an impact on disease pressure in 2020. While there are many things you can do to protect your wheat, below are 3 tips to give your wheat a better defense against costly diseases like Fusarium head blight (head scab).

  1. Make wise variety selections

Take inventory of your field’s history regarding soil type, previous years’ weather and environmental conditions and past disease history when making your variety selections. Planting a high-yielding variety with resistance against your area’s disease spectrum helps protect your crop’s quality and maximizes ROI potential.

  1. Maintain a crop rotation program

Looking at the disease triangle from the University of Illinois, the correct environment, pathogen and host must be present for disease to develop. Using crop rotation, you remove the susceptible host and inhibit disease development, but implementing the right rotation is crucial. For example, corn is a host for head scab, so rotating from corn to wheat may not be an effective strategy for you. However, rotating to soybeans or another cover crop could be beneficial.

In addition to disease management, Michigan State University researchers cite many other benefits to crop rotation, including improved nutrient cycling, soil tilth and weed control.

  1. Protect with a fungicide application

Lastly, it’s important to note many diseases can overwinter for years on crop residue, so inoculum may still be present even after crop rotation, and there are no completely disease-resistant varieties. That’s why knowing the conditions conducive to disease development and applying a fungicide when necessary are key for optimal disease control in wheat.

To protect yield potential, choose a fungicide with preventive and curative activity against your area’s disease spectrum. For protection against diseases such as stripe rust, powdery mildew or Septoria leaf blight, we recommend Trivapro® fungicide – the hardest working, longest-lasting fungicide for wheat.

If head scab is common in your area, an application of Miravis® Ace fungicide is recommended to help improve grain quality and increase profit potential. In addition to superior disease control, Miravis Ace also offers greater application flexibility. With Miravis Ace, you can apply as early as 50% head emergence up to flowering, so you can get a head start on protecting against head scab.

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