News > Garden City News > GCC Insight: Scouting for Leaf and Stripe Rust in Winter Wheat

GCC Insight: Scouting for Leaf and Stripe Rust in Winter Wheat

Apr 30, 2019

A Wet Start

Unlike last Spring where the Winter wheat crop struggled to establish a good crown root system due to a lack of moisture since Fall planting, this past winter and early spring has left the winter wheat crop in good shape on precipation and getting a good stand, developing those crown roots as Joey Kuehler spoke about last Spring. The wheat crop has also thickened up leading to healthy canopies, helping to cut down on weed pressure.  But on the flip side, too much moisture can also lead to disease, in the form of leaf or stripe rust.  K-State Research Extension Agents have noted rust presence in some places in Finney and Gray Counties on the lower leaves.  

Sales Manager and Agronomist Trevor Witt says some trace amounts have also been observed in Scott and Lane Counties.  Though nothing to be exceptionally worried about at this stage, Witt says that having seen these reports already show up gives us an advantage to be vigilant and be on the lookout for any possible signs, especially during this important developmental stage of the crop. 

A Critical Time For a Critical Leaf

"The biggest thing with the stripe rust is we're about to get to a point where our flag leaves are going to start emerging.  That is the critical leaf to protect from any rust.  So you want to be out looking in your canopies, down on the lower leaves for early emergence of stripe rust and try to prevent it before it ever gets up to that flag leaf," Witt says.    

Once the rust reaches the flag leaf it greatly affects yield performance, as it stresses the plant, thereby limiting any chances of significant grain fill and might lead to a premature ripening which would reduce the overall test weight.  "Even if you treat it, it's going to kill that tissue and that's photosynthesis that can't happen, so - wasted energy." says Witt.  

A Proactive Solution

The Garden City Co-op has a variety of fungicide solutions and pricing options to give you the best possible foot forward in staying ahead of stripe or leaf rust.  Witt cautions, "The biggest deal is to be proactive and try to get it before it gets up to that point on your plant to where it can detrimentally hurt your yield."  

If you have any questions on this or any other agronomy concerns, contact one of our agronomists today at 620-275-6161.  

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