Stripe Rust is Concern for Wheat Growers

Cool conditions this spring contributed to the onset of this major fall seeded wheat disease. Spread by the wind, Stripe Rust is leaving its mark across the wheat growing states. The disease has been spotted in southeast Colorado and Kansas and as far north as Weld.

Darrell Hanavan, executive director of the Colorado Association of Wheat Growers, said wheat stripe rust considerably reduces yields; he has seen as much as a fifty percent yield loss from Strip Rust compared to fungicide treated wheat.

Warm weather is the key to stopping this disease. Jim Cooksey, a wheat farmer in Weld, believes “three good, 90-degree days would break the cycle.”

Fungicide is also an option farmers can consider. However, with harvest just around the corner, time is running out for chemical treatment. A 30- to 45- day pre-harvest interval is required, depending of the type of fungicide used. The same cool weather which brought on the onset of this disease, is also giving farmers a little more time. Harvest is looking to be a little later than the typical July 4th beginning in Colorado which means farmers may have a little more time to treat this malicious disease.

Like all chemical applications, this fungicide can be costly: farmers must decide if application will protect enough of their yield to justify it. Cooksey is hopeful the onset of hot weather will cure the problem.

Additional information about wheat stripe rust and other pests can be found at Colorado Wheat’s online home.


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