Several fungal diseases affect wheat grown in Georgia. Powdery mildew, rust and fusarium head blight can all cause yield losses if left untreated. Powdery mildew is a disease that we see every year, however it rarely causes enough damage to apply fungicides. this year it appears that the cooler March and now April has provided the perfect environment for disease development.
Rust is another disease that can affect wheat in our area. Spores from this fungus have to move into our area from other wheat growing areas of the southeast. Luckily these diseases are fairly easy to identify and county agents and growers in other areas are quick to share their findings. As of today the closest report that I have seen is in Seminole County, but with winds shifting from the south I would expect more rust to be found throughout the state.
Finally the third and most devastating disease over the last few seasons is fusarium head blight (FHB). FHB causes yield losses, low test weights, low germination and contamination of seed with mycotoxins. The fungus is spread by rain splash and wind. The head, and in particular the open female flower during pollination is most susceptible to infection.
In most fields now would be a great time to apply a fungicide. Fungicides that control FHB also have good activity on rust and powdery mildew. Some options would be any of the labeled triazole fungicides like Caramba, Tilt, Proline, Folicur, or Prosaro. Strobilurin containing fungicides are not recommended for control of FHB and should be avoided this late in the season.
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