Wheat Diseases of All Stripes

Posted: April 5, 2017

Mild winter weather and a more severe than usual stripe rust season in the south in 2016 may put us at risk for early rust issues in our PA wheat and barley crops in 2017.

I have gotten reports in the last week of stripe rust on wheat in both Virginia and Wisconsin. We usually don’t think of the rusts overwintering here in PA, but there’s some evidence that they over wintered at the Wisconsin location. So while rust diseases usually come in at flag leaf or later for us here, be sure to scout early this year as weather systems can blow the spores up to us from the south and we’ve had a mild winter that may allow for fall spores surviving into spring. The disease is pretty striking in appearance (and different from the typical leaf rust we see), so if you need some help identifying it look no further than this excellent identification guide.

If you do spot stripe rust before flag leaf this year, it may warrant a fungicide application earlier than we would normally recommend. There are several great chemistries that are very effective on this fungus. If you choose to use a fungicide for this or any other diseases on wheat this year, please refer to the updated fungicide efficacy chart. The same information can also be found in The Penn State Agronomy Guide.

To get ahead of the game for another serious disease, do yourself a favor and bookmark the FHB predictor tool. Visit this website as your wheat approaches the flowering stage to find out if weather conditions put it at high risk. This model updates at 10am daily, so check in the late mornings. Remember, this is a tool to provide additional information and does not replace your own judgement as a grower. I will add commentary about disease risk in our area to give some human perspective, and you can have this commentary sent to your e-mail or phone by signing up on the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative website.

Contact Information

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