This article was written by Meriem Aoun, Small Grains Pathologist
During my visit to wheat fields in Morris (Okmulgee County) on May 16, I observed multiple fungal and bacterial diseases. Wheat crop in Morris looked good and tall compared to other locations in Oklahoma (Figure 1). Morris got substantial amount of precipitation, which favored some fungal and bacterial diseases.
Bacterial streak (on the leaf, Figure 2) and black chaff (on the head, Figure 3) were frequently observed on multiple winter wheat varieties including ‘Big country’ and ‘WB 4401’. Bacterial streak and black chaff are two phases of the same disease and are favored by humid and warm climate, which was the case in Morris.
In Morris, I also observed Septoria leaf spot and tan spot in the lower and mid canopy, but nothing much on flag leaves. Septoria leaf spot was more common and found on varieties like ‘Skydance’ and ‘Crescent AX’ (Figure 4). Both diseases were also observed in the Stillwater Agronomy Research Station on OSU winter wheat breeding lines. In addition, spot blotch and powdery mildew were found in multiple experimental plots in Stillwater on susceptible winter wheat varieties and OSU breeding lines (Figure 5).
Powdery mildew and leaf rust were observed in both Stillwater and Morris (Figure 6 and 7). As I previously reported powdery mildew was observed in multiple locations in Oklahoma since April whereas leaf rust was first observed this year in Oklahoma during the second week of May.
In addition to these foliar diseases, I observed some head diseases including sooty mold (black head mold) (Figure 8) in wheat fields in Morris, El Reno, and Stillwater. Humid conditions promote this disease on wheat heads. Often wheat that has been subjected to a stress such as freeze, root rot, or drought shows a greater severity of sooty mold than healthy wheat. I also observed loose smut (Figure 9) in Chickasha, Stillwater, and Morris.