Ohio growers following wheat planting after corn harvest should be mindful of the potential for head scab development in their crop.
Pierce Paul, an Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist, said that recurring disease problems — ear rot and stalk rot in corn in 2009 and head scab in wheat in 2010 — may pave the way for continuing issues if weather conditions favor head scab development during the 2011 growing season.
“Wheat and corn are both members of the grass family, and as such, are affected by some of the same pests and diseases, one of which being head scab,” said Paul, who also holds an Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center appointment.
Head scab, a major disease of wheat that affects the crop during the flowering stage, is caused by the same fungus (Fusarium graminearum) that causes ear and stalk rot in corn.
“So even if the cornfield into which wheat is planted did not have a major ear rot or stalk rot problem this year, the fungus still is present in the corn stubble left in the field after harvest.