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Wheat is at a critical disease stage

By Dave Scheiderer, Integrated Ag Services

Now is the time to take a close look at your wheat crop. Most of the wheat in central Ohio is nearing complete flag leaf emergence (Feekes 9). This is the critical growth stage to determine the need for a fungicide application to control leaf diseases. Integrated Ag Services (IAS) consultants have been scouting several wheat fields, and so far we’ve seen very low disease pressure. Septoria leaf has been found on some of the lower leaves and Powdery Mildew has been found in some over seeded areas, such as overlaps on point rows, but these areas are very limited. In general, we don’t think a lot of fungicide will need to be sprayed on wheat in central Ohio.

For those farmers concerned about grain quality and yield reductions caused by Fusarium Head Scab, the timely use of a fungicide like Prosario can reduce the incidence of this disease. Proper timing of this application is critical. This product needs to be applied when 50% of the wheat is flowering (Feekes 10.51). This means you only have about 3-4 days to get this application done. Apply it too early or too late and the level of control diminishes considerably. The decision to apply is made to minimize Fusarium Head Scab disease from developing on the glumes of the wheat head. Since this treatment is a preventative treatment, there is really no good scouting procedure to determine a critical threshold level. A likely extended rainy period during flowering is about the only reasonable predictor to determine the economic need for treatment applied at flowering. Be cautious trying to outguess the weather.

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