Our very oldest wheat fields are starting to joint. All of our winter crops seem to be about 3 weeks ahead of where we were last year. There’s a good bit more wheat planted this year than last year and its been looking pretty good all winter, despite growing way faster than we would like.
It’s been cool in the mornings and there has frequently been dew on the ground, perfect conditions for powdery mildew. There’s plenty of it out there. Remember, powdery mildew isn’t normally a concern until the flag leaf emerges.
Once our flag leaf emerges, we want to use the following threshold: 20% of the leaf area is infected on the leaf just below the flag leaf and cool, wet weather is predicted to continue. If the weather gets hot, it’s likely we won’t have to worry about it at all.
Last year was an awful year for diseases. We saw leaf rust especially bad and some growers ended up terminating their crop because of it. Stripe rust was found in several areas as well, mostly in NC. Use this as a reminder that we need to be diligent in our disease control this year. The best time to apply fungicides is just after flag leaf emergence. Take a look at pages 15-16 of the Clemson Wheat Cheat Sheet for more info and labeled chemicals.