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PNW wheat growers urged to monitor for stripe rust, other diseases

  • The Cereal Disease Laboratory and researchers continue monitoring for diseases across the Pacific Northwest
  • Syngenta recommends close management through scouting and timely fungicide application
  • Feekes Growth Stages (FGS) 2 to 5 and FGS 8 to 10.5 are most critical fungicide application times for cereal crops
Greensboro, N.C., USA – Syngenta agronomists are concerned that earlier planting this spring could lead to greater chance for rust development in the Pacific Northwest states. Syngenta recommends that cereal growers actively scout fields and monitor websites for disease and weather updates to assess the need for fungicide application.
According to researchers, when a crop is planted early, it is more vulnerable to stripe rust infection because it spends more time in a vegetative state. Glenn Letendre, a Syngenta agronomic service representative in Idaho, commented that, “This winter’s conditions should have reduced the potential impact of stripe rust.” He added, “I am more concerned about rust later in the season, because it could blow in from the west and north.”
Tim Murray, a plant pathologist at Washington State University, explained that due to the mild weather this year, winterkill was not as large a threat to winter wheat as stripe rust. He said that the Pacific Northwest region is forecasted to have a fairly normal spring, but that growers need to adjust their management practices for stripe rust, as well as eyespot - or strawbreaker - specifically in winter wheat.
“After two bad rust years, stripe rust will definitely be on growers’ minds again this season,” Murray said. “Looking at spring wheat, growers are far better-off choosing varieties that are resistant and using a fungicide to protect yield potential.”
Every year fungal disease spores spread across the United States, resulting in devastating yield losses. It is vital for growers to monitor disease pressure throughout the growing season and proceed with a timely fungicide application.
Don Drader, Syngenta agronomic service representative from Washington, recommended, “Growers should use timely scouting to assess disease levels in the fields. We know there are two stages that are critical to end yield: Feekes Growth Stages (FGS) 2 to 5 and FGS 8 to 10. Growers should develop a disease-management plan that includes both preventive and curative fungicide options to protect their crop.”
FGS 2 to 5: Spikelet Formation
Disease control in spring wheat is crucial during the reproductive stages of FGS 2 to 5 as the number of spikelets and size of kernels are determined at that time.
“Protecting tillers during this timeframe will help them become more efficient and possibly help the plant put on several more tillers, as well,” explained Jon Rich, an AgriPro® wheat breeder with Syngenta. “A fungicide application during this time helps protect plants from early, cool-season diseases like tan spot, Septoria and powdery mildew.”
Syngenta offers a comprehensive fungicide program for cereal growers, recommending an application of Quilt® or Quilt Xcel fungicide at FGS 2 to 5. At a rate of 7 ounces per acre, Quilt brands can suppress rusts, powdery mildew, late blight, glume blotch and tan spot, and can easily be tank mixed with Axial® XL herbicide to provide one-pass disease and mixed grass control.
FGS 8 to 10.5: Flag Leaf
As the spring and winter wheat crops close in on maturity, FGS 8 to 10.5 becomes the most critical point as this is when the flag leaf emerges. Protecting the flag leaf is important for maximizing yield potential.
“The flag leaf, being the leaf that is right below the head, is the one that is feeding the grain the most, which makes it the most important contributor to final grain yield,” Murray explained.
If disease pressure continues to be a problem during flag leaf emergence and development, Drader recommends a follow up application of Quilt or Quilt Xcel. “Quilt brandfungicides offer growers two modes of action with preventive and curative activity. The increased levels of azoxystrobin and systemic-xylem mobility of Quilt Xcel provide better protection,” Drader explained. “We’ve also seen enhanced Plant Performance™ activity that helps wheat growers achieve maximum grain fill and profit.”
The two modes of action in Quilt brand fungicides offer a resistance management solution, while protecting from yield-robbing foliar diseases like rusts, tan spot, powdery mildew and Septoria. By combining the Power of Two™ proven brands, Quilt brand fungicides deliver broader-spectrum, preventive and curative disease control up to FGS 10.5.
As Syngenta agronomists and the Cereal Disease Laboratory continue to monitor disease pressure throughout the Pacific Northwest, cereal growers should ensure their crops are protected from diseases from planting to harvest. Combining a tank mix of fungicide and herbicide will save growers from making extra trips across the field. Sound scouting practices, attentive weather and disease monitoring, and preventive and curative fungicide programs will result in a successful disease management plan throughout the growing season. 
For more information about Quilt brand fungicides, visit, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
About Syngenta
Syngenta is one of the world's leading companies with more than 26,000 employees in over 90 countries dedicated to our purpose: Bringing plant potential to life. Through world-class science, global reach and commitment to our customers, we help to increase crop productivity, protect the environment and improve health and quality of life.  For more information about us, please go to
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