Stripe rust may be off to an early start this season across much of the Pacific Northwest, reports Xianming Chen, a USDA plant pathologist at the Pullman Agricultural Research Service in Pullman, Wash.
The relatively mild winter, coupled with widespread snow cover, has enabled survival of the rust pathogen in many of the region's wheat plantings.
A cold February slowed, but did not terminate rust stripe development in eastern Washington, Chen observes.
"Rust will develop fast when the weather gets warm – with night temperatures into the 40s and day temperatures into the 50s," says Chen.
As many fields were already infected with rust last fall, early application of pesticides will benefit susceptible and moderately-susceptible wheat cultivars, he advises.
"Check your fields when the weather in your area reaches the (see above) range, and if you see stripe rust consider spraying with fungicide even before applying herbicides," he urges.
If no rust is found, but the wheat cultivar is susceptible or moderately-susceptible then apply a fungicide with your herbicide application, he adds. Chen recommends using the full rate of fungicide as this rust season will likely be very long.
To check on your seed susceptibility, go to http://www.washingtoncrop.com/seed/.
For questions, call Chen at (509) 335-8086, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org