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Wheat disease update – 23 April 2015

Wheat disease updates are written by Dr. Bob Hunger, OSU Extension Plant Pathologist

Oklahoma:  Again, a cool and moist week in Oklahoma with rain and cool temperatures in the forecast through the weekend.  Wheat is mostly at flowering around Stillwater but by early next week will likely be past flowering.  From what I hear across the state, wheat is quickly approaching, at, or will be quickly past flowering (depending on what part of the state, when planted, and how much drought stress was endured).

Around Stillwater there has been an increase in stripe rust and powdery mildew (especially stripe rust).  Leaf rust also has increased, but not to the same extent (incidence or severity) as stripe rust.  Dr. Brett Carver (OSU Wheat Breeder) indicated he saw significant stripe rust in his nurseries at Lahoma (north-central OK).  Gary Strickland (Jackson County Extn Educator) also has observed an increase in stripe rust (and to a lesser extent, leaf rust) in far southwestern Oklahoma.  My impression is that stripe rust has activated again with the cool and wet weather, and continues to spread across Oklahoma.  This Thursday and Friday there will be field days in central Oklahoma, so look for a more extensive report next week.

To the south of us in Texas (far southern Texas), Dr. Amir Ibrahim (Professor, Small Grains Breeder/Geneticist; Texas A&M AgriLife Research; College Station, TX) has indicated in breeder nurseries near Castroville, TX, that there is a mixture of stripe rust, leaf rust, bacterial leaf streak and some septoria.  This has occurred because of back-and-forth switching between cool and warm temperatures mixed in with lots of rain.  To some extent, this also has occurred across Oklahoma during April.

Mite-transmitted viruses also are prevalent in Oklahoma this year.  Yesterday when in nurseries here at Stillwater I noticed occasional trapped heads scattered throughout the field.  In observing these in the lab using a dissecting scope, I found wheat curl mites associated with these trapped heads.  Although only sporadic around Stillwater, the Diagnostic Lab has received multiple samples that they confirmed for presence of Wheat streak mosaic virusWheat mosaic virus (High plains virus), and/or Barley yellow dwarf virus.  This includes samples from Grady, Noble, Grant, Texas and Woods Counties.  I would refer you to EPP-7328 (Wheat Streak Mosaic, High Plains Disease, and Triticum Mosaic:  Three Virus Diseases of Wheat in Oklahoma) available at http://osufacts.okstate.edu for more information on these mite-transmitted viruses.

 

Reports/excerpts of reports from other states: 

Kansas Doug Shoup (SE Area Crops/Soil Specialist) & Erick DeWolf (Extn Plant Pathologist), Kansas State University, 22-Apr-2015:  “Stripe rust has been found in several fields of wheat in southeast , south central, and north central Kansas. Given the forecast of cool and relatively wet conditions for the next seven days, this is a potentially significant situation for fields anywhere in Kansas planted to varieties susceptible to stripe rust. Intensive scouting of fields should begin now.”  [This was the first paragraph of their report, which can be found at:

https://webapp.agron.ksu.edu/agr_social/eu_article.throck?article_id=532

Brown wheat mite showing up in winter wheat

By Tom Royer, OSU Extension Entomologist

Our Plant Disease and Insect Diagnostic lab received samples of wheat that were damaged by brown wheat mites. Producers need to remain alert so that they don’t mistake damaged wheat from brown wheat mite for drought or virus disease.

Brown wheat mite is small (about the size of this period.) with a metallic brown to black body and 4 pair of yellowish legs. The forelegs are distinctly longer that the other three pair. Brown wheat mites can complete a cycle in as little as 10-14 days. Brown wheat mite causes problems in wheat that is stressed from lack of moisture. They feed by piercing plant cells in the leaf, which results in “stippling”. As injury continues the plants become yellow, then dry out and die. They are very susceptible to hard, driving rains which many areas have now experienced, but until then they can cause yield loss when present in large numbers.

A closeup of a brown wheat mite. Photo courtesy Franklin Peairs, CSU.

A closeup of a brown wheat mite. Photo courtesy Franklin Peairs, CSU.

Brown what mite can severely damage wheat that is already stressed due to drought or other adverse environmental conditions.

Brown what mite can severely damage wheat that is already stressed due to drought or other adverse environmental conditions.

Brown wheat mites are about the size of a period at the end of a sentence and can be difficult to see with the naked eye.

Brown wheat mites are about the size of a period at the end of a sentence and can be difficult to see with the naked eye.

We typically experience 3 generations per year. However, in this sample, the mites had already caused considerable damage and had laid significant numbers of diapausing white eggs that tell us they have completed their last generation of the growing season and these eggs will oversummer.

Brown wheat mite eggs in soil.

Brown wheat mite eggs in soil.

Research suggests that a treatment threshold of 25-50 brown wheat mites per leaf in wheat that is 6-9 inches tall is economically warranted. An alternative estimation is “several hundred” per foot of row. If you find active brown wheat mites in your field, check CR-7194, Management of Insect and Mite Pests in Small Grains for registered insecticides, application rates, and grazing/harvest waiting periods. It can be obtained from any County Extension Office, or found at www.wheat.okstate.edu

Wheat disease update – 17 April 2015

Wheat disease updates are written by Dr. Bob Hunger, OSU Extension Plant Pathologist

Oklahoma:  This past week has been wet and cool across most of Oklahoma, which has greatly helped the wheat but also should lead to more foliar diseases – especially stripe and leaf rust.  Around Stillwater, we have not seen a big increase in stripe rust yet, but can find many leaves beneath the flag leaf on which there are actively sporulating pustules.  There also are leaves on which the black spore structure stage of stripe rust has appeared (called the telial stage – see photo – note actively sporulating pustules towards the base of the leaf).  Typically this indicates the disease is “shutting down,” which it was prior to this week.  However, with the cool and wet weather since Monday, there likely will be a “reactivation” of stripe rust – especially given that cool and wet weather is forecast for the next 5-10 days as well!

The black spore structure stage (telial stage) of stripe rust. Note actively sporulating pustules towards the base of the leaf.

The black spore structure stage (telial stage) of stripe rust. Note actively sporulating pustules towards the base of the leaf.

I get the impression from talking to Aaron Henson (County Educator; Tillman County) as well as other growers and consultants around the state that this is similar to what they are seeing.  Wheat seems to range from boot to heads emerging, so if you are contemplating applying a fungicide to protect a promising wheat yield, I suggest it be done soon.  Remember, GS 10.5 (heads fully emerged but not yet flowering) is the cut-off for applying fungicides for wheat foliar diseases.  That point likely is not far away for much of southern and central Oklahoma.  It likely is a bit farther away for northern and northwestern Oklahoma, but it is much better to apply a fungicide a little early rather than after the flag leaf is infected.

Most of the samples that came into the Diagnostic lab last week tested positive for wheat streak mosaic (WSM), including three from the panhandle.  However, there is nothing that can be done about WSM at this point.  I would refer you to EPP-7328 (Wheat Streak Mosaic, High Plains Disease, and Triticum Mosaic:  Three Virus Diseases of Wheat in Oklahoma) available at www.wheat.okstate.edu for more information on these mite-transmitted viruses.

Reports/excerpts of reports from other states:

Colorado  Dr. Scott Haley (Professor & Wheat Breeder, Colorado State University) 16-Apr-2015:  “FYI, stripe rust was confirmed for a field site near the Denver International Airport in Colorado this week. Infection was moderate but cool wet weather we are experiencing now could cause this to increase. This is pretty early for stripe rust sightings in eastern Colorado.”

Northwestern / north central Oklahoma wheat update – drought, greenbugs, and freeze

Dr. Hunger traveled southwest Oklahoma this week, so I made a trip out Hwy. 60 yesterday to evaluate freeze injury and assess the overall condition of the wheat crop in northwestern and north central Oklahoma. Last week’s warm temperatures and wind have taken their toll on wheat in Kay, Grant, and eastern Garfield Counties. It is not too late for rain to save a partial wheat crop in these areas, but the “full yield potential” ship sailed long ago. Wheat sown behind summer crops is the hardest hit, and wheat in these fields could best be described as yellow and thin. If the weather turned and we received rain in the next week, I would predict that yield potential in these fields would still only be around the 15 bushel mark. Without rain, subtract around 15 bushels. Wheat planted behind summer fallow has held on a little longer, but is clearly showing the signs of extreme drought stress. If we receive rain in the next week (and continue to see rain) these fields could still make 20 – 30 bushels per acre. In the absence of rain in the near future, they will be 10 bushels per acre or less.

Wheat in the Lamont test plot was approximately GS 7 - 8. Flag leaves were rolled and plants were starting to abort tillers.

Wheat in the Lamont test plot was approximately GS 7 – 8. Flag leaves were rolled and plants were starting to abort tillers.

 

In addition to drought stress, we found freeze injury and greenbugs at Lamont. I was a little surprised to find freeze injury and even more surprised to find the greatest injury in the later-maturing varieties. We split several stems of early varieties such as Ruby Lee and Gallagher and did not find any injury. These varieties would have likely been at approximately GS 7 – 8 when the freeze occurred. We found significant injury in later-maturing varieties such as Endurance, but these varieties were likely only GS 6 – 7 when the freeze occurred. Conventional wisdom regarding freeze injury is that the more advanced the variety, the greater the likelihood of freeze injury. After seeing the same phenomenon last year (i.e. the greatest injury in later maturing varieties) I am changing my thinking on freeze injury and now say that all bets are off when it comes to freeze injury in drought stressed wheat.

Freeze injury was greatest in late-maturing varieties at Lamont.

Freeze injury was greatest in late-maturing varieties at Lamont.

 

Overall wheat condition started to improve around Nash and Jet, I would say that much of the wheat in this area is CURRENTLY in fair to good condition. I emphasize the currently in the previous sentence, as the only difference between wheat in the Cherokee area and wheat to the east was about one week’s worth of moisture. Some terrace ridges had already started turning blue and moisture was starting to run out. Without rain wheat in this area will rapidly deteriorate from good to poor. One consistent theme throughout the day was greenbugs. Many sites had evidence of parasitic wasp activity (i.e. aphid mummies), but the presence or absence of parasitic wasp activity varied field by field. Dr. Royer has indicated that greenbugs still need to be controlled in drought stressed wheat. If parasitic wasps are active, the best decision is to let them do the aphid killing for you. If no mummies are present, then insecticide control could be justified. The only sure way to make this determination is to use the glance-n-go sampling system.

 

Greenbugs were alive and well at Lamont

Greenbugs were alive and well at Lamont

Parasitic wasps were keeping greenbug populations under control in this field

Parasitic wasps were keeping greenbug populations under control in this field

Active and parasitized greenbugs on the same plant

Active and parasitized greenbugs on the same plant

 

Similar to Lamont, we found freeze injury in the Cherokee and Helena areas. Many of the worst looking fields (extensive leaf burn) had only superficial injury and should recover if moisture allows. Conversely, some plants that showed no outward signs of freeze injury had injured heads within.  Most fields I surveyed had less than 10% injury, but one field was a complete loss. On the surface the 10% injury field and 100% loss field looked the same, so I cannot over stress the importance of splitting stems. I have received a few additional reports of freeze injury from Kay County this morning, so it is important for producers throughout northern Oklahoma to evaluate their wheat on a field by field basis.

 

Plants that look healthy on the exterior could contain damaged wheat heads

Plants that look healthy on the exterior could contain damaged wheat heads

A closeup of the damaged wheat head from the picture above

A closeup of the damaged wheat head from the picture above

Although freeze injury to plant tissue in this field was severe, the wheat heads were mostly left unscathed

Although freeze injury to plant tissue in this field was severe, the wheat heads were mostly left unscathed

A closeup of a head from the freeze-injured wheat shown above. Although tissue damage is severe, the growing point and wheat head are still viable

A closeup of a head from the freeze-injured wheat shown above. Although tissue damage is severe, the growing point and wheat head are still viable

A final note on freeze injury. Freeze injury appeared to be worst in no-till fields and in areas where residue was heaviest. Based on my observations, this was not due to winterkill or poor seed to soil contact. My best explanation is that the lack of soil cover in conventional till fields allowed stored heat to radiate from the soil surface and slightly warm the crop canopy. The insulating effect of residue in no-till fields did not allow radiant heating to occur. Given the pattern of freeze injury in fields with varying degrees of residue across the field, I feel pretty confident in this analysis of what occurred.

Please use the comment section to share pictures or descriptions of wheat in your area.

Wheat disease update – 09 April 2015

Wheat disease updates are written by Dr. Bob Hunger, OSU Extension Plant Pathologist

Oklahoma: On April 6, I traveled a route from Clinton (85 miles west of OKC) in west central Oklahoma going northeast through Custer County to Kingfisher (40 miles northwest of OKC) and then to Marshall (35 miles west of Stillwater). Although there was some good wheat on this route (e.g. the variety trials at Kingfisher and Marshall), it is posed to decline quickly unless rain is received. Most of the wheat I looked at in Custer County northeast of Clinton was small and fields were terribly dry. Wheat in this area seemed to be at GS 6-7 and I’m guessing was planted quite late due to the dry fall. The most common problem I saw were greenbug, especially in Custer County. However, as the photos show, there were many mummies present indicating the population should be crashing shortly. I also saw some stripe rust but only an infection here and there. Around the variety trial at Kingfisher, wheat was mostly around GS 9 and I saw no aphids or disease. At Marshall, wheat was at GS 8 and there was some stripe rust but at a low incidence.

Greenbugs and mummies in Custer County, Oklahoma

Greenbugs and mummies in Custer County, Oklahoma

On April 7, I traveled to Frederick in south central OK looking at wheat along the way. At a variety demo 20 miles west of OKC right at I-40, I found the wheat at GS 8 with just a little touch here and there of stripe rust. Soil moisture here looked good; this area must have caught a decent rain in the last week or so. The same could be said at another variety demo straight south about 15 miles south at Minco. Here the wheat in the field surrounding the demo was at GS 9, there was good soil wetness, and the wheat looked good. I did not see any rusts or powdery mildew, but there were occasional BYD spots. Further southwest near Apache (30 miles north of Lawton) wheat was at GS 9-10 and looked very good in the variety trial as well as in fields. However, some leaves were beginning to roll and the need for moisture to continue the crop was evident. I didn’t see any aphids or diseases in wheat west of Apache, but I the variety trial just south of Apache I found some stripe rust and greenbug; both at a very low incidence.

Wheat stripe rust

Wheat stripe rust

The rest of this trip was spent with Aaron Henson (Extension Educator, Tillman County) and Mark Gregory (Area Extn Agron Spec – SW Oklahoma) looking at wheat in Tillman County. Wheat in this area was mostly at GS 9-10 with awns occasionally just emerging from the boot. Some fields we visited were dry and impacted by drought, while others looked good but needed another drink soon. A few fields were outstanding and had good soil moisture. One field in particular was the best wheat I have seen since 2012. It was a field of Ruby Lee that was at GS 10 and had been sprayed on 15-Mar because of reports of severe stripe rust in the area and in northern Texas to the south. A 20 ft strip of unsprayed wheat was left on the outside of the north and west side of the field because of power lines and wind. This strip served as an excellent control to indicate the effect of the spray. The line between sprayed and not- sprayed was visible from the road and even more evident in the field (see photos). Within the not-sprayed strip, flag leaves were green with leaves beneath the flag hit hard with stripe rust (see photos). The field was sprayed a second time on 05-Apr because it has such good potential. Leaves in the sprayed area are completely green. I have difficulty explaining the complete lack of stripe rust on the flag leaves in the not-sprayed area. Likely the flag leaves were not yet emerged at the time of the first spray and then conditions after spraying did not allow spread of stripe rust to them. However, in talking to Aaron and Mark it seems there were conditions after the 15-Mar spraying that would have been conducive for spread of stripe rust. At any rate, this is an excellent example of how a timely spray did a tremendous job of protecting yield potential.

Stripe rust – note yellow cast to wheat in foreground that changes to deep green about halfway into phot

 

Signs of stripe rust were present in the lower canopy, but stripe rust was not present on flag leaves

Signs of stripe rust were present in the lower canopy, but stripe rust was not present on flag leaves

Fungicide-treated Ruby Lee in the same field as above photos

Fungicide-treated Ruby Lee in the same field as above photos

 

Other diseases observed across the Oklahoma include wheat streak mosaic, which has been detected in samples from several places including around Stillwater and from Noble County just north of Payne County (where Stillwater is located). However, I have not received indication yet of severe WSM; part of this may be related to the drought in western OK where WSM is typically more common. Recently samples from northwestern OK are beginning to come into the diagnostic lab, but results from some of those samples are still pending.

 

Reports/excerpts of reports from other states:

Texas Dr. Charlie Rush (Professor, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Amarillo) 3-Apr-2015: “I haven’t checked all fields as closely as those around Bushland but there are a lot of GB and Russian wheat aphids as well as bird cherry.  Russian seems predominate in my fields.  We sprayed last week but will likely sustain significant yield loss from not spraying earlier.  I suspect we’ll start getting lots of calls and samples that end up being BYDV, although some WSM is also showing up.  Mild winter with more moisture than last few years has resulted in a crop that has looked very promising up to now but without good subsoil moisture what we had in the upper layers of the soil profile is disappearing fast and obvious symptoms of drought are beginning to appear.”