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Recent rains leave wheat with wet feet across Northern Plains

  • Syngenta urges careful management to help mitigate crop stress caused by wet weather
  • Conditions conducive to wheat diseases and grass weeds
GREENSBORO, N.C., USA – With standing water and decreased soil temperatures in fields across the Northern Plains this year, Syngenta agronomists urge wheat growers to take steps now to ensure maximum yield and profit potential.
Cool weather and heavy rains – a complete reversal of last year’s record drought – have created ideal conditions for promoting devastating diseases in wheat, as well as for emergence of grass weeds, like wild oat.
“Within the last month, we have had almost our entire year’s worth of precipitation,” said Jill Herold, agronomic service representative for Syngenta based in Montana. “It may be hard for growers to get into their wheat fields and spray, so weeds and diseases have a jump start. We will have to be extra diligent this season.”
To maintain healthy fields and avoid pests, Herold offered the following tips:
  • Assess first. Under the current conditions, it is especially important to assess fields for moisture before spraying. Herold said growers should make sure their wheat has a green hue. A yellow hue could mean a nutrient deficiency, possible diseases or other potential issues. “In addition, if there is standing water on the field, it is wise to let the crop have a little sun to start photosynthesizing before making a fungicide application,” she advised.

  • Apply a proactive fungicide to mitigate stress and defeat disease. Because wet, cool conditions are a breeding ground for yield threats, such as stripe rust and powdery mildew, Herold strongly recommended a preventive application of a fungicide, such as Quilt® or Quilt Xcel®. “Not only does this protect against diseases that thrive in these conditions, but it also provides physiological benefits key to mitigating stress,” she said. “These benefits allow the wheat crop to better use the sun’s energy, increase water-use efficiency and enhance green leaf area.”

  • It’s not too late for weed control. Herold suggested growers in the Northern Plains consider an application of a herbicide like Axial® XL to keep tough-to-manage grass weeds under control. “Grass weeds can rob significant yield early in the season and as they grow they become more difficult to control. However, Axial XL has a wide application window and has proven it can control weeds at various growth stages. It is ideal for wheat growers this year,” she said. 

Even with the sudden onset of increased precipitation and cooler weather, Herold said not all hope is lost for growers to have a successful season.
“The moisture has been a surprise to everyone, but if the weather turns around, we will be in good shape,” Herold said. “For now, monitoring fields and making timely product applications should help mitigate stress and maintain yield and profit potential.”
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Syngenta is one of the world's leading companies with more than 27,000 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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