Powdery mildew hit southwest Alabama wheat fields with a vengeance this week, according to Auburn University Regional Extension Agent Richard Petcher.
"During the third week of March Powdery Mildew started in Southwest Alabama and is now present in almost every wheat and oat field in this area," Petcher said.
Despite the sudden strike, growers don't necessarily need to act quickly.
"Growers are encouraged to scout their fields and then make fungicide spray decisions," Petcher says.
According to Alabama studies, growers will see little to no yield benefit if they spray too early. Optimum yield benefit is seen when treatment, such as Tilt, is applied at flag leaf stage.
"Some of our wheat is in the flag leaf and early head stage. If your wheat is still in the tillering stage, scout, keep a close alert check on your field," Petcher says "If the Powdery Mildew is not too bad wait until the flag leaf early heading stage before spraying.
"Powdery Mildew is an easy disease to control with a low rate of a fungicide like Tilt."