Although foliar disease outbreaks in winter wheat have been detected elsewhere in the state, no such problem is evident in the dark green foliage of the varieties in the Extension Service’s trial plot on the Kolbe Seed Farms at Chilton in Calumet County. Photo By Ray Mueller
Crucial stage arrives for winter wheat diseases
With most of Wisconsin's winter wheat having reached the stage at which the flag leaf emerges, Extension Service small grains specialist Shawn Conley and plant pathologist Paul Esker are striving to keep growers apprised about the potential for yield losses due to one or more foliar diseases.
Conley explains that the flag leaf, technically the Feekes 8 growth stage, governs about 50 percent of the winter wheat yield.
For that reason, timely action in diagnosing plant diseases and applying a fungicide is necessary to protect the yield, especially in wheat varieties which are susceptible to one or more of the diseases, he points out.
As of last week, a majority of the state's wheat crop was at the Feekes 6 or 7 growth stage (first and second stem nodes), Conley reported.
During field inspections so far, powdery mildew has been the most prominent plant disease but wheat leaf rust and septoria leaf blotch are also possibilities.
Updates, advisories, and fungicide application guidance are available at thesoyreport.blogspot.com.