Stripe rust played havoc with wheat crops in 2016.
Blame it on mild winters or strong winds, but stripe rust made it to Ontario wheat fields this year. According to an agronomist at C & M Seeds, stripe rust overwintered further than usual into the northern US states last year making the move north easier. Now that it is here, says Tim Meulensteen, good chance we see it again, and growers will need to plan to control it.
“Fungicides do keep the effects of stripe rust minimized,” explains Meulensteen. “It’s easy to identify, but by the time you do, it will already be causing problems, so spray proactively .”
Anecdotal reports put the crop losses between 25 per cent and 50 per cent, but reliable comparison data was not available at time of print. But now that stripe rust has reached Ontario, it will continue to cause loss if it is not controlled.
Meulensteen can’t stress early spraying enough. “Managers who use T1 or T2 fungicides will have better stripe rust protection,” he says.
In addition, choosing varieties that have stripe rust resistance or tolerance will minimize the disease pressure. “Our varieties have good disease packages,” continues Meulensteen. “It’s a good idea to research varieties and select the ones with proven stripe rust tolerance.