Oklahoma wheat disease update

With an abundance of cool temperatures, the Oklahoma wheat crop continues to mature, but diseases are on the mind of many producers. Bob Hunger, Oklahoma State University Extension wheat pathologist, gave a wheat disease update at the Lahoma, Oklahoma, field day May 14.

“For diseases, it’s just been one of those years,” Hunger said. “We saw a later planting date for a lot of wheat in Oklahoma, so there wasn’t a lot going on in the fall, but the diseases are here because it has stayed so mild for so long.”

According to Hunger, OSU Extension researchers have been seeing stripe rust, early leaf rust and powdery mildew diseases in the crop so far. Although stripe rust has been spotty from field to field across the state, Hunger predicted these foliar diseases would explode across the state with the cool, wet weather predicted for the week of May 16.

He that wheat streak mosaic virus and high plains virus—both mite-transmitted viruses—cause major yield reductions for infected fields.

“This surprised me because a lot of our wheat was planted later and usually if you have that later planting date, you’re not going to get those fall infestations of wheat curl mites,” Hunger said. “We’ve gotten around 25 to 30 samples and 80 to 90% of those have been positive for one or both of those viruses.”

Besides updating Oklahoma wheat growers on the wheat pathology concerns for the 2021 crop, Hunger was also honored for his years of service to the wheat growers of Oklahoma. He has advised farmers on plant disease in Oklahoma for the last 39 years and will retire later this year. To view the recorded videos of the Lahoma field day presentations, visit www.youtube.com/sunuptv.com.

Lacey Newlin can be reached at 620-227-1871 or [email protected].