By: Barb Ziesman, AAg, Provincial Plant Disease Specialist
Producers should be on alert for wheat rusts this growing season. Stripe rust was reported to be prevalent and widespread in the United States this spring. Higher disease levels mean more spores will be produced and potentially released into the upper atmosphere air parcels. It is also possible for the pathogen to have survived on winter wheat and volunteer spring wheat plants on the Canadian Prairies during the relatively mild winter we experienced. This is likely the case in southern Alberta, where stripe rust was reported on winter wheat earlier this spring.
Producers are encouraged to actively scout their winter wheat and susceptible spring wheat fields for stripe rust symptoms. Look for elongate yellow to orange pustules on leaves; the pustules will often extend the entire length of the leaf blade.
The presence of symptoms should be confirmed prior to making fungicide application decisions. As part of the fungicide application decision process, producers should monitor the progression of the disease symptoms and take into account the wheat variety’s resistance to stripe rust. Resistance ratings can be found in the Varieties of Grain Crops or SaskSeed Guide.
Report signs of rust to the Ministry’s Provincial Plant Disease Specialist (Barb Ziesman: 306-787-4671 or firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can keep everyone posted on disease incidences this season.