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Wheat Diseases Could Put Your 2021 Yield at Risk

February 23, 2021
This agronomic image shows fusarium head blight in wheat

Fusarium head blight in wheat.

As the wheat growing season inches closer, it’s important to proactively assess which diseases could appear in your field and negatively impact yield potential. As you know, when diseases are widespread one year, inoculum can overwinter, lurk in the soil and cause infection the following year. Since you may not spot obvious disease symptoms until later in the growing season, here’s an overview of top wheat diseases to be mindful of in 2021.

  • Fusarium head blight (head scab). Although head scab severity varies every year, it’s one of the most economically important wheat diseases because it can result in significant yield loss and decreased crop quality. The fungus that causes head scab, Fusarium, can survive on crop residue, and according to researchers at North Dakota State University (NDSU), wheat is most susceptible to infection at flowering. Head scab may manifest through a variety of symptoms including bleached wheat heads, brown discoloration of the stem and pink spores on spikelets. 2-3 days of high humidity in warm or cool weather are favorable conditions for head scab development.
  • Stripe rust. According to researchers at Washington State University, stripe rust is one of the most damaging cereal rusts. Symptoms of stripe rust initially appear as yellow flecks on wheat leaves and are later characterized by yellow-orange pustules in a stripe pattern. The USDA reports yield losses of up to 40% can be common, so a preventive fungicide application can protect wheat from this difficult disease.
  • Septoria leaf blight. Similar to stripe rust, Septoria leaf blight spreads from one plant to another by wind and rainfall. The infection can be identified by small brown spots on the plant leaves or glumes. According to researchers at NDSU, the causal pathogen of Septoria leaf blight is the most destructive between temperatures of 50-68° F.

To protect your wheat from yield-robbing diseases like stripe rust or Septoria leaf blight, consider a preventive application of Trivapro® fungicide, the hardest working, longest-lasting fungicide. By shutting down disease and providing plant-health benefits, Trivapro gives your wheat a boost in potential yield.

You can also get a head start on head scab this season with Miravis® Ace fungicide. Offering applications as early as 50% head emergence up to flowering, Miravis Ace takes the stress out of head scab control and helps improve grain quality for maximized profit potential.

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