Many wheat growers may be thinking about fungicide applications to control stripe rust and other leaf diseases this spring. K-State Research and Extension just released a newly revised publication that could help growers decide which products might be a good fit for their needs.

The publication Foliar Fungicide Efficacy for Wheat Disease Management can be found at http://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/EP130.pdf.

This publication presents the results for years of testing of these fungicide products in head-to-head comparisons from Kansas and many other states. The publication is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all available options but does cover most of the products widely marketed in Kansas.

Research conducted by K-State indicates that a single fungicide application made to susceptible wheat varieties when the risk of disease is high will often result in a 4 percent to 13 percent yield increase, with an average increase of approximately 10 percent relative to untreated wheat. Important considerations when making fungicide application decisions include application timing, timely disease scouting, and knowledge of a variety’s genetic resistance to disease.

In general, growers have access to many products that can provide very good to excellent control of stripe rust, leaf rust, and other common leaf diseases. There are some important differences with respect to control of Fusarium head blight (wheat scab). In this case, fungicides belonging to the triazole class of fungicides are the best option, with Caramba, Miravis Ace, and Prosaro providing the best available suppression (only 40-50 percent control in many tests).

There are also significant differences in product price. With low wheat prices, it could be important for growers to do their homework before pulling the trigger on any possible fungicide application this year. Historically, the cost of fungicide products range from about $2 to $15 per acre, with generic tebuconazole (Folicur), and propiconazole (Tilt) products being the lowest-cost options. 

Brand names appearing in this article are for product identification purposes only. No endorsement is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned.

Currently survey work and field checks of wheat fields in Kansas have some reports of leaf rust for the South Central region of the state earlier in the week. So far, it appears to be leaf rust that is most active but stripe rust is also present. The disease appears to still be at low levels and restricted to the low and mid canopy.

Grower’s should be checking wheat fields for signs of leaf and stripe rust. Susceptible wheat varieties with good yield potential and seed production fields should be the top priorities for scouting. 

Information was provided by Erick De Wolf, Extension Plant Pathology.