The occurrence and distribution of plant pathogens are long known to be strongly influenced by the environment. We see evidence of this concept every season on specialty crops in western Nebraska, and 2018 was no exception.
While diseases are one of the three biggest yield-limiting factors of sunflower production, there was little information on how to identify and manage them until university plant pathologists joined in a collaborative effort to conduct research and develop educational resources.
Unusually early findings of rust in volunteer sunflower in western Nebraska indicate the potential for a major outbreak much earlier than usual. Growers are encouraged to scout within the first few weeks of emergence and treat where necessary.