Monday, June 21, 2010
Disease problems in hard red wheat
We have a few disease issues in one of our hard red wheat fields. The cool wet spring has encouraged a proliferation of stripe rust and smut. Stripe rust is a fungus. The leaves turn yellow and are covered with an orange dust of spores. The smut attacks the seed head and turns it black. Thankfully the field is very small, about 7 acres. Hopefully the late outbreak won't affect the yield dramatically. All the other fields look okay at this point. We talked to Shepard Smith from Soilsmith Services about the fungus issues. He suggested treating with a mixture of compost tea and stimplex (liquid kelp), and something called Stealth. In the end we decided not to treat the field at this late stage. Shepard indicated that preventative treatment would have worked wonders. Yet another case for applying compost tea several times a year. The field in question is actually one of the few wheat pieces we didn't treat with tea a few months back. Now we are seriously thinking about getting our own compost tea brewer so we can apply year-round.