No serious foliar or root disease in the 2013-14 winter wheat crop has been seen this fall in Oklahoma, according to Bob Hunger, Oklahoma State University Extension wheat pathologist.
"I called around to several OSU Extension specialists around the state," he said. "No one in the southwest, south central or northwestern quadrants reported seeing or hearing of any serious disease problems so far. That is good news."
He reports this fall has been quiet in the OSU Diagnostic Laboratory with no wheat samples being sent to them.
"The only report of a wheat disease in the state has been a report I received from Brian Vincent who indicated Keith Castner of BASF had seen leaf rust in late October on early planted 'Duster' near El Reno," he said. "This finding is not surprising as leaf rust is often observed in the fall in Oklahoma."
When leaf rust is observed in the fall, Hunger said, the value of spraying to control rust can be questioned. Dropping fall temperatures cause wheat leaves infected with rust to mature and drop off, he said. Increased air circulation and drying make conditions less favorable for future rust infection, he said.
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Spraying to control fall leaf rust on winter wheat is of limited value, he said.
"The primary concern with fall infections of leaf rust is with a mild winter and sufficient moisture, the rust will survive through the winter and could survive in fields to start the disease early in the spring," he said. "It is wise to check these fields through the winter and early next spring to see if applying a fungicide is necessary to control the disease."
Hunger reported after checking with his counterparts at Kansas State University, some leaf rust had been spotted in that state in KSU test plots on wheat varieties known to be susceptible to leaf rust.
Less wheat rust was observed in winter wheat in the years 2011-12 due probably to the drought affecting the area, Hunger said. Now with more rainfall this year, farmers could see some leaf rust in their wheat fields, he said.
"Farmers should watch their fields through the winter and early spring to identify any rust problems," he said.