Plan Your Strategy for Cereal Grain Health Now

Posted: August 28, 2012

Take actions now that will enhance your small grain crop’s health this fall and into the next year.

As you start making decisions for your winter small grains, take actions now that will enhance your crop’s health this fall and into the next year.

First, be sure to ask your dealer about lines with genetic resistance to some of our important diseases. Several of the breeding companies have offerings that include some level of resistance against powdery mildew, scab, and others. This should be your first consideration in the fight against small grain diseases.

Second, take care that the seed you select is clean, undamaged, certified seed. If you choose to use stored seed, avoid seed lots that have not been thoroughly cleaned and those from fields with a history of glume blotch or scab. Low test weights, discoloration and poor germination rates are also causes for concern.

Thirdly, give some thought to fungicidal treatments for your seed. These treatments do a good job against pathogens that can be carried over on or in seed like the bunts and smuts, glume blotch and scab. Treatments are also effective at reducing stand and yield loss from seed rots and early season diseases like those caused by Fusarium, Pythium and Rhizoctonia. This can be especially important if planting is delayed and the seed bed is cool and wet. Fungicidal treatments will not provide control of bacterial diseases or viruses. Seed treatment will also not protect your wheat and barley from the head scab that occurs in the spring, it only provides protection for the damping off that may occur at germination as the result of planting some scabby seed.

There are a few new products available or on the horizon in terms of seed fungicides. Vibrance (sedaxane) from Syngenta recently received a label for seed treatment use on cereals and is being included in a CruiserMaxx Vibrance Cereals formulation for Rhizoctonia root rot. It looks like this product will replace CruiserMaxx Cereals while Vibrance Extreme will replace Dividend Extreme. From BASF, Acquire is now included with the purchase of Charter F2, which together are purported to control Pythium as well as the bunts and scab. Stamina is another broad spectrum fungicide from BASF that may be included with Charter F2.  Meanwhile, Bayer has announced a new fungicide, EverGol Energy (penflufen), for the control of Rhizoctonia, common bunt and smuts. This is slated to be available for the 2013 growing season.

It is best to select multiple seed treatments to provide activity against the range of pathogens and added protection from insects. While there is not independent efficacy data yet for some of the new chemistries and formulations, you can find some recent information at Ohio State’s website to help you make your choice.

Contact Information

Alyssa Collins
  • Research Associate, Southeast Ag Research and Extension Center
Phone: 717-653-4728