Because of the presence of stripe rust and leaf rust in the state, as well as increasing incidence and severity of Septoria leaf blotch and tan spot, growers are encouraged to be vigilant in scouting their fields.
Wheat fields are still looking green (Figure 1). However, development of several diseases is increasing. On April 26, stripe rust was confirmed in Nuckolls County in south central Nebraska and on April 27, it was found at low to moderate levels in research plots at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Havelock Research Farm near Lincoln in Lancaster County (Figure 2).
Winter wheat growth in Nebraska is progressing at a steady pace, with most fields now green with little or on disease; however, growers are urged to continue scouting their wheat for early signs of disease as current and forecasted wet weather this spring is likely to lead to severe disease outbreaks.
The wheat-growing season is off to an early start due to a mild winter. Wheat fields are looking green from a distance (Figure 1), but closer examination reveals freeze damage in some fields caused by periods of subfreezing temperatures that occurred after growth had resumed (Figures 2 and 3).
While the mild fall promoted wheat establishment, it also favored survival of wheat curl mites, the leading vector of several viruses common to Nebraska wheat. While much of the state's wheat crop entered winter in very good condition, growers are urged to scout for viruses this spring and assess yield potential of individual fields when making management decisions.
A number of diseases were reported in Nebraska wheat this fall. In this article plant pathologist Stephen Wegulo outlines how to develop a comprehensive plan to tackle this yield challenge, starting with steps growers can take this winter.