Posted in Crops, Uncategorized

Early Season Crop Diseases

Photo courtesy of Aaron Nygren

Diseases in Wheat and Soybeans

            In early May, parts of the county were very dry; even pivots were running to get the crops out of the ground.  With a significant amount of rainfall within the last couple weeks, now brings concern for diseases.  Before treating for diseases though, it is important to scout your fields and confirm if and how much disease is present.

Scout for Soybean Seedling Diseases

Wet spring conditions have led to the development of soybean seedling diseases in some Nebraska fields. Seedling damping off and seed rot caused by several fungi commonly occur in Nebraska. Early season damping off and root rots are often followed by premature death, which in many instances may be attributed to fungal infections earlier in the season. In some situations, large areas of a field or even entire fields need to be replanted due to early season fungal problems. This may especially be true in a year like this when cool, wet weather early in the growing season creates favorable conditions for infection by certain soil borne pathogens that attack developing soybean plants.Seedling diseases also are active whenever soils are saturated.

Several soybean disease pathogens may cause damping off or root rot seedling diseases. The most common in Nebraska are species of Phytophthora, Pythium, Rhizoctonia, and Fusarium. All four are capable of killing soybean seedlings or at least causing damage sufficient enough to affect the plant’s ability to achieve full yield potential.

These seedling diseases have similar symptoms, often making diagnosis difficult. Microscopic examination and other laboratory analyses of the diseased seedlings often are necessary to identify the cause and differentiate damage from disease, insect injury, herbicide damage, planting problems, or environmental stresses that have similar symptoms. If you think you have some, we can get those samples to our UNL Plant Pathology lab for proper diagnosis.                (Source, CropWatch, May 26, 2011 Issue)

Scab Risk Moderate in South Central Nebraska

The following information was provided by Stephen Wegulo, Extension Plant Pathologist. With wheat flowering occurring or approaching, the National Fusarium Head Blight Risk Assessment Tool has elevated the risk of scab from low to high in an area of southeast Nebraska and to moderate in areas of eastern, south central, southwest, and north central Nebraska. Scab appears in the field as prematurely whitened or bleached heads. Affected heads are partially or entirely bleached and often are seen suddenly scattered over small, large, or entire areas of the field. It is recommended that a fungicide be applied at early flowering to suppress scab in scab-prone areas (southeast, south central, and southwest Nebraska). The fungicides Prosaro and Caramba are good in suppressing scab and very good to excellent in controlling foliar diseases.

Timing of fungicide application for scab suppression is critical. Early flowering is the optimal time. Once bleached heads appear scattered in the field, it is too late to apply a fungicide for scab suppression. For fields where wheat is not flowering yet, if foliar disease pressure is low and the flag and flag -1 leaves are free of disease, delay a fungicide application until early flowering and then apply a fungicide that will both suppress scab and provide protection against foliar diseases.

If foliar disease pressure is high and the flag leaf is at risk of infection, consider applying a fungicide to protect the flag leaf and monitor the risk of scab as heading and flowering approach. In this case a second fungicide application to suppress scab may be warranted in high risk and high yield potential fields, such as irrigated fields, if the risk of scab rises prior to flowering. Refer to a fungicide table  for a list of fungicides and their efficacy against various diseases.

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