As the state's winter wheat fields come out of dormancy and begin new growth, the possibility of plant diseases is being tracked by agronomists, crop consultants, and Extension Service plant pathologists.
At the winter wheat trial plot at Arlington, an inspection on April 24 found localized outbreaks of septoria blotch, which is often part of a complex of leaf blotches.
The Extension Service report noted that such infections often take place in the autumn but don't become evident until in the spring.
The physical sign of septoria blotch is an elliptical tan lesion with easily visible black pimples inside those blotches on the leaves. Outbreaks typically occur after two days of wet and humid conditions. A possible followup is leaf blight.
Warm and dry weather would limit the spread of the infections, the report pointed out.
Extension Service specialists do not suggest a fungicide application now but they emphasize that attention needs to be given to protecting the winter wheat flag leaf from diseases once it develops in several weeks.
If leaf blotch is detected on at least 25 percent of the leaves in two of five areas of a field, a followup scouting trip is recommended every four days by Extension Service plant pathologist Damon Smith.
He adds that a fungicide application is warranted if the incidence of such outbreaks is found in three of five different areas of a field.