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North Carolina wheat growers get tips on diseases, weed controlNorth Carolina wheat growers get tips on diseases, weed control

High relative humidity and moderate temperatures are conducive to scab. Wheat that is flowering is susceptible to the fungus.  

John Hart

May 20, 2015

2 Min Read

High humidity and moderate temperatures are conducive to wheat scab. Wheat that is flowering is susceptible to the fungus. Apply fungicide when the yellow anthers are coming out of the plant, says Christina Cowger, small grains pathologist at North Carolina State University.

“Eighteen to 25 days after flowering is when you can see the symptoms of scab,” she said.

Because of scab risk in North Carolina, Paul Murphy, small grains breeder at N.C. State, said farmers need to look to varieties that offer moderate resistance to the disease.

“To me as a wheat breeder, the disease that scares me the most is scab,” Murphy said. “We don’t have a large number of varieties that are resistant to scab. Pay particular attention when you’re choosing varieties to scab resistance. There is no variety that is completely resistant to scab. The highest level is being moderately resistant.”

As for weeds in wheat, Italian ryegrass is the most troublesome and most difficult to control, according to Wes Everman, N.C. State Extension weed specialist. He said it has become the “driver weed” for most wheat acres in the state

N.C. State is conducting research at Forbis Farms to evaluate early season herbicides to help manage Italian ryegrass that is resistant ALS resistant herbicides. Products were applied pre-emergent and early post-emergent (two-leaf stage).  Scientists are looking at the herbicides Tricor, Fierce and Zidua in the research. No additional herbicides were applied to the treatments for the remainder of the growing season.

As far as yields go, Everman said farmers need to get ryegrass early.

“We had a study last year and we are repeating it this year where we put out a residual early on and got that control in the fall and then compared it to a post plus residual put on in January and February in typical time,” he explained. “We saw about a 25 bushel yield reduction in waiting and only spraying that post later in the season. So you need to get ryegrass early or you can see some major yield reductions from that competition.”

About the Author(s)

John Hart

Associate Editor, Southeast Farm Press

John Hart is associate editor of Southeast Farm Press, responsible for coverage in the Carolinas and Virginia. He is based in Raleigh, N.C.

Prior to joining Southeast Farm Press, John was director of news services for the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C. He also has experience as an energy journalist. For nine years, John was the owner, editor and publisher of The Rice World, a monthly publication serving the U.S. rice industry.  John also worked in public relations for the USA Rice Council in Houston, Texas and the Cotton Board in Memphis, Tenn. He also has experience as a farm and general assignments reporter for the Monroe, La. News-Star.

John is a native of Lake Charles, La. and is a  graduate of the LSU School of Journalism in Baton Rouge.  At LSU, he served on the staff of The Daily Reveille.

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