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Small Grains Disease Update


The spring wheat in many parts of the state is now fully headed or pretty close to it. The drought stress has been partially abetted with some timely rains over the weekend. Yield potential, however, of the most drought stricken fields has been greatly reduced as tillers and lower leaves were aborted. This is very visible as the canopy opened up. Some of the worst field will likely not yield much over 35 to 40 bushels.

As far as diseases are concerned, these are some of our own observations and those of the scouts that are paid for through a grant of the Minnesota Wheat Research & Promotion Council. Tan spot is still the most prevalent disease, closely followed by stripe rust. Both diseases have progressed to the middle of the canopy, particularly on more susceptible varieties, as is the case for Faller and stripe rust

BYDV like symptomology can be readily found in barley, particular in the southern half of the state. Disconcerting in these cases is the high incidence and the severity; very seldom, if ever, have we seen such a widespread infection across fields, and the severe stunting. Fields have actually been abandoned and replanted with soybeans in the past week.

Now is the time to scout the fields to assess yield potential and the presence of any foliar diseases such as tan spot and leaf or stripe rust. With the increase in precipitation, disease risk models have, and will likely continue to trend higher, especially for the foliar diseases such as tan spot and stripe rust.

The decision to apply a fungicide at Feekes 10.51 will not be easy this year. Given the weather forecast for the next 5 to 7 days, we don't expect the risk models for FHB to increase dramatically. The decision therefore will hinge as much on the presence of foliar diseases as on the risk for FHB. The lower yield potential further complicates the matter.

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