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Posted 14 June 2010. PMN Crop News.

Cereal Disease Pressure Rising

Source: Syngenta Crop Protection Press Release.

Greensboro, North Carolina (May 25, 2010)--Currently, the Cereals Disease Laboratory is tracking stripe rust through the Pacific Northwest. Syngenta Crop Protection reminds cereal growers that careful preparation is the key to defending crops against yield-robbing diseases and maximizing yield and profit potential as they enter into another disease season.


“There are many online tools available to help cereal growers monitor the latest disease outbreak patterns in their region,” said Rodolfo Leyva, Syngenta fungicide brand manager. “In addition, they should use timely scouting to assess disease levels in their own fields. We know there are two more critical periods when disease can severely detract from the productivity of the crop…Feekes Growth Stages 2 to 5 and Feekes Growth Stages 8 to 10.5. Growers should develop a disease management plan that includes preventive and curative fungicide options to protect their crop.”

A young wheat or barley crop is particularly vulnerable to diseases around Feekes Growth Stages 2 to 5 because this is when the number of spikelets per head is determined.

“Protecting tillers during this timeframe will help them become more efficient and possibly help the plant put on several more tillers, as well. A fungicide application during this time helps protect plants from early, cool-season diseases like tan spot Septoria and powdery mildew,” explained Jon Rich, Central Plains wheat breeder with Syngenta Cereals.

“Scouting plays a huge role in disease control. It is important to get in the field and see if there are any early-season diseases,” Rich said. “Fungicides like Tilt® can help make the plant more productive and perform at a higher level. You’re reducing disease pressure at that time, and you’re enabling the plant to produce more spikelets per head.”

Scouting and monitoring the weather enables a more timely fungicide application to maximize effectiveness. Applied before jointing at the green up stage (FGS 2-5), Tilt delivers proven disease protection while offering application flexibility with its ability to tank mix with herbicides, like Axial® XL, or foliar fertilizers to reduce trips across the field.

As the crop closes in on maturity, Feekes Growth Stages 8-10.5 become the most critical point as this is when the flag leaf emerges. The final leaf to emerge, the flag leaf is responsible for approximately 70 percent of the effective leaf area that contributes to grain fill. Research shows that protecting the flag leaf is an essential component to maximizing yield potential and overall crop quality.

“The flag leaf, being the leaf that is right below the head, is the one that is feeding the grain the most, which makes it the most important contributor to final grain yield,” said Tim Murray, professor of plant pathology at Washington State University.

Quilt® fungicide helps protect the valuable flag leaf from yield-robbing foliar diseases like rusts, tan spot, powdery mildew and Septoria. By combining the Power of Two™ proven brands, Quilt delivers broad-spectrum, preventive and curative disease control up to Feekes 10.5.

In addition to disease protection, azoxystrobin brands, including Quilt, provide plants with certain physiological benefits. These Plant Performance™ benefits include enhanced green leaf area, increased water use efficiency and enhanced CO2 assimilation. In fact, research has shown that Quilt can increase yields 7 to 12 bu/A in cereal crops, in part due to these benefits. This can represent a sizable profit bump for growers.

As the Cereals Disease Laboratory continues to track stripe rust and other diseases through the Pacific Northwest, cereal growers should ensure their crops are protected from diseases from root to head. Careful preparation, disease monitoring, sound scouting techniques and preventive and curative fungicides are available to aid growers in implementing a successful disease management plan throughout the growing season.

Wendell Calhoun