Diseases are a major cause of yield loss in winter wheat. Environmental conditions in Nebraska vary considerably because elevation increases and rainfall decreases from east to west. In addition, approximately 5% of winter wheat production in the state occurs under irrigation. This variation in environmental conditions has a major influence on the prevalence and incidence of specific wheat diseases across the state.
See page links to the right for disease summaries and pictures located at Plant Disease Central. See below for additional links to NebGuides, NebFacts, and CropWatch articles.
If you are unsure of what disease your wheat may have, you may want to take a look at the Wheat Disease Profles I & II, which show pictures and describe common symtoms of various wheat diseases. The multi-state Extension publication "Wheat Disease Identification" (*PDF; 1.8 MB; 22 pages) is another excellent resource for identifying disease problems in wheat. Identifying Rust Diseases of Wheat and Barley (*PDF; 1.3 MB; 4 pages) is a multi-state Extension publication that can help you differentiate between these three rust diseases of wheat.
Residue Borne Diseases
Tan spot, Cephalosporium stripe, Fusarium head blight, take-all, and others
Root, crown, and foot rots are common fungal diseases that affect overall plant health and lower yields
- Common Root Rot and Fusarium Foot Rot of Wheat *PDF version (1.35 MB; 4 pages) Common root rot and Fusarium foot rot are fungal diseases common in dryland winter wheat and in no-till and continuous cropping.
Diseases such as leaf rust, stripe rust, tan spot, and glume blotch can result in serious economic losses in wheat.
- Foliar Diseases of Winter Wheat: Managing Fungicide Options *PDF version (859 KB; 4 pages) This guide evaluates available management options and treatments for foliar diseases of winter wheat.
- Leaf, Stem and Stripe Rust Diseases of Wheat This guide discusses the three rust diseases of wheat to help producers make rust control decisions.
- Identification and Management of Stem Rust on Wheat and Barley (*PDF; 1.3 MB; 8 pages) This multi-state Extension publication contains excellent pictures, control measures, and a discussion of 'Ug99', a potentially devastating new race of stem rust.
- Powdery Mildew of Wheat *PDF version (858 KB; 3 pages) This guide explores how to recognize and manage powdery mildew of wheat.
Diseases Affecting the Head, Grain and Seed Quality
Diseases affecting wheat grain, such as black point, ergot, common bunt, loose smut, and scab, reduce yield, quality, or both.
- Distinguishing Between Head Disorders of Wheat (*PDF; 735 KB; 11 pages) This publication provides information on how to distinguish between wheat head (spike) disorders.
- Fungal Diseases Affecting Grain and Seed Quality in Wheat (*PDF; 2.42 MB; 10 pages) This publication discusses symptoms and management of fungal diseases affecting wheat grain.
- Loose Smut and Common Bunt of Wheat *PDF version (908 KB; 3 pages) Planting resistant cultivars and fungicide-treated seed will help with control and management of these common fungal diseases.
- Ergot of Small Grain Cereals and Grasses and its Health Effects on Humans and Livestock (*PDF; 300 KB; 6 pages) This publication provides information on this fungal disease and its consequences for humans and livestock.