Choose Your Cultivar Carefully for Effective Disease Management

Winter wheat planting is just around the corner and may have already begun in some areas west of the Missouri river. One of the most cost effective and sustainable disease management practices is careful selection of the cultivar to be planted. Cultivar selection can make a large difference in profit margins, even when all other management practices are performed correctly.

Consider your farm’s needs
Cultivars will respond to inputs and stresses differently. The initial step in deciding which cultivar to plant is to look at your farm needs, your field history, and conditions at planting. For instance, are you planting wheat on wheat, or wheat on wheat fallow? In this case, selecting a cultivar with good leaf disease tolerance would be advisable. If you are in an environment that gets moderate levels of moisture, selecting a cultivar with resistance/tolerance to scab is recommended.

There are diseases, such as leaf, stem, or stripe rusts, which appear nearly every season but do not overwinter in South Dakota. Their severity will depend on the time of arrival, the weather conditions, and the susceptibility of the cultivar planted. For these types of diseases, it is better to plan that they will appear, rather that to hope that they do not.

Crop performance testing: a useful tool
Although there is little information published on wheat cultivar disease ratings, producers ought to keep records of cultivar performance for future decisions. The SDSU Crop Performance Testing (CPT) publishes winter wheat yield, protein, and test weight information along with some disease ratings. The CPT trials are carried out across the state and producers can choose data from a nearby location to decide on which cultivar best suits their environment. For more information, view the 2015 Winter Wheat Variety Trial Results.

Unlike some traits in corn and soybean, such as herbicide resistance, that cost extra, the cost of winter wheat seed that has disease resistance/tolerance is the same as for seed without resistance/tolerance. So why not take an advantage of this and choose a cultivar that is both high-yielding and tolerant to diseases?

Other considerations
Other practices to consider at planting that influence disease development are crop rotation (for reduced source of inoculum), time of planting (delay planting if the area is known to have wheat streak mosaic virus outbreaks) and fungicide seed treatment (for fields with a history of root and crown rots).

Source: Emmanuel Byamukama, South Dakota State University 

Recent News

Managing Nitrogen for Corn in 2020

As was the case a year ago, there have been limited opportunities to apply nitrogen fertilizer since last fall. Rainfall in Illinois through the first three weeks of March has been at or above average, and temperatures have been a few degrees above normal. Soils remain wet, and there is little in the current weather […]

Time Has Run Out for EPA to Appeal 10th Circuit Biofuels Ruling

Reuters writer Richard Valdmanis reported on Wednesday that, “Time has run out for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to challenge a federal court ruling that would limit the agency’s use of waivers exempting small oil refineries from the country’s biofuels regulations. Todd Neeley@toddneeleyDTN  The DOJ did not file an appeal with the 10th Circuit before the court deadline on the […]

Management of Defoliating Insects in Nebraska Soybeans

Many defoliating insects may be found in Nebraska soybeans. Estimating defoliation levels in fields is the best way to decide whether it will pay to treat for these insects. We saw several different insects in parts of Nebraska causing defoliation in soybeans in 2019. These included: woolly bear caterpillars green cloverworms grassshoppers bean leaf beetles […]

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now