OK Wheat Growers Enjoy Quiet Year for Foliar Disease, OSU's Bob Hunger Looks at 2018 in ReviewTue, 15 May 2018 11:55:15 CDT
The 2018 growing season has been a quiet year for wheat growers really across the Southern Plains, in terms of foliar diseases. During the recent Lahoma Field Day hosted by Oklahoma State University Extension, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn sat down with Extension Plant Pathologist Dr. Bob Hunger to catch up on what he has observed so far this year. Fortunately for farmers, he really had very little to report. Listen to their complete conversation, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“The wheat disease situation has been quiet, starting even last fall. Usually we do see some of the foliar diseases come in the fall - leaf rust especially,” Hunger said. “But, last fall it was just too dry and a lot of wheat was planted late.”
According to Hunger, dry conditions were seen across the Plains down into Texas which he says kept much inoculum from being produced and blowing up into Oklahoma. If there was one issue this year, though, Hunger says it would probably focus on powdery mildew which occurred throughout the state despite the lack of moisture.
“Powdery mildew I would have to say was probably the most prevalent foliar disease this season,” he said. “The fungus that causes it doesn’t have to have free moisture on the leaves to infect the leaves, it just needs higher humidity. So, you get down into a dense canopy and there is some soil moisture, you tend to have that higher humidity - and that’s why powdery mildew can occur even in what’s perceived of as a dry year in terms of rainfall.”
Oklahoma eventually did receive some rainfall which Hunger says helped powdery mildew spread up plants as far as the flag leaf in some fields.
“When it gets that severe, it can start causing some significant yield losses,” he said. “But, I would expect it is starting to shut down as temperatures have risen up and the fact that it has been dry.”
Aside from powdery mildew, Hunger says there have been a few reports of Wheat Streak Mosaic pop up, although a far cry from the epidemic Oklahoma producers witnessed last year. He says growers did a much better job this year managing volunteer wheat which is often conducive to the spread of the mosaic virus. In Kansas, Hunger says there have been some cases of Stripe Rust, but again on the whole, 2018 has been a relatively quiet year. With harvest just around the corner and fields quickly maturing, Hunger expects disease pressure in Oklahoma will continue to be a non-starter for the remainder of the season.
“If you have a variety that’s susceptible to something like Leaf Rust… Leaf Rust could still come in, but I just don’t think there is the inoculum around for it to really get going,” he concluded. “But yeah, I think we’re pretty much out of the woods.”
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