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Small grains disease and pest update

Small grains disease and pest update

By Scout Nelson

As the small grains growing season progresses, it's crucial to stay updated on disease and pest management. This year's biweekly updates of University of Minnesota extension have begun, aimed at helping producers make informed decisions from now until the beginning of grainfill.

Bruce Potter, a seasoned crop scout, observed English grain and bird cherry-oat aphids early in May in Lamberton. These pests have since moved north, with findings in winter wheat trials showing both aphid presence and symptoms of Barley Yellow Dwarf virus (BYDV).

Current scouting in the southern Red River Valley has noted minimal aphid activity, but thresholds for control actions have been updated by NDSU, now set at 4 aphids per stem before full head emergence.

This spring's wet conditions have also facilitated the spread of tan spot and stripe rust, ideal for their proliferation. While stripe rust has not been observed in the winter wheat nursery, there is a presence of tan spot, leaf rust, and early signs of bacterial leaf streak — diseases typically less favored by the current cooler temperatures.

Saturated soils in the Red River Valley, coupled with high numbers of aster leaf hoppers observed recently, might contribute to the spread of aster yellows, a disease with symptoms similar to BYDV but with no economic threshold or treatment available.

Producers are advised to scout their fields regularly, especially those with late-seeded spring wheat following a previous wheat crop. Integrating a fungicide with herbicide applications can help manage early-season tan spot effectively, even when Fusarium Head Blight risk models indicate low risk.

As the season unfolds, staying observant and responsive to these updates can significantly impact the management and success of small grains crops in combating pests and diseases.

Photo Credit -gettyimages-sveta

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Categories: Minnesota, Crops

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