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Revisiting Management Tools and Fungicide Resources for Wheat (05/16/19)

Planting season is in full force and I cannot help but ponder the crystal ball question: What wheat diseases will be problematic in 2019?

Planting season is in full force and I cannot help but ponder the crystal ball question: What wheat diseases will be problematic in 2019? The 2018 growing season had statewide issues with bacterial leaf streak, a few pockets of Fusarium head blight, and a few pockets of ergot (2018 Curveball Disease Award Winner, self-proclaimed). The start of 2019 may suggest an increase in disease risk, but things can change quickly. Given this uncertainty, it is best to revisit the management tools we can use to manage wheat diseases. This article will discuss the importance of crop rotation, host resistance and foliar fungicides.

Crop rotation – Crop rotation is one of the oldest disease management tools in agriculture. For example, planting wheat after broadleaf (soybean, dry bean, canola, etc.) will reduce the in-field risk for tan spot, Septoria, Stagonospora and Fusarium head blight (FHB). Also, it is important to remind small grain growers that Fusarium head blight risk will be higher if planting wheat after corn (preferred host for the Fusarium head blight pathogen).

Host resistance– Our most valuable and sustainable disease management tool. It is extremely important to understand the level of disease resistance in a variety as this can influence in-season management decisions. Varieties with resistance to leaf rust and stripe rust will likely not benefit from a fungicide application at flag leaf (Figure 1). Using less susceptible varieties is our primary management tool against bacterial leaf streak. For FHB, host resistance in combination with a fungicide is the best approach to suppressing FHB and accumulation of deoxynivalenol/vomitoxin.


Foliar fungicides - There are several good fungicides that can be used to manage fungal diseases, not bacterial diseases. A few resources that can be used to help with fungicide selection and timing are:


1. 2019 NCERA-184 Wheat Fungicide Efficacy Table (Direct Link to table)

2. 2019 North Dakota Plant Disease Management Guide (Direct Link to Full Guide, PDF document, 2.77 MB)


As a reminder, the North Dakota Plant Disease Management Guide is available as a hard copy document, on the NDSU Extension Plant Pathology website, and on the NDSU Extension Pest Management App.


Andrew Friskop

Extension Plant Pathology, Cereal Crops

This site is supported in part by the Crop Protection and Pest Management Program [grant no. 2017-70006-27144/accession 1013592] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the website author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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