Don’t Let Disease Hurt Your Grain Quality

By: Randy Myers

wheat fieldWheat diseases are as common and harmful as weeds. Without proper control, wheat diseases can drain your potential grain quality. Each season brings a set of challenges, so whether you are growing spring or winter wheat, refresh and expand your knowledge on preserving grain quality with these wheat management tips for pre-season through harvest.

Grain Preservation Checklist:

Wheat on Wheat:

Using the same variety in the same field at the same time each year is a formula for disease. A common yet underestimated practice is crop rotation - whether it’s corn and wheat or multiple wheat varieties - significantly helps fields fight off diseases.


Residue is a hosting spot for soil-borne diseases, such as tan spot, from the previous growing season. Spores from these diseases can attack the germinating seeds or the young, newly emerged plants.  If growers till their fields, it helps reduce the amount of residue in and on the soil, reducing the amount of inoculum and slowing infections. This can help newly planted seeds to germinate and spread roots.


Selecting seeds that are fungicide-treated is a proactive start in preparation of a new growing season. Fungicide-treated seeds can reduce loss from soil-borne diseases and increase germination rates.


Warm temperatures, warm soil and high humidity create a feeding ground for wheat diseases to grow in fields. Proactively scouting wheat fields allows you to quickly identify diseases and the rate of the spread.


Be on the lookout for leaf rust and stripe rust. With wind or windy rain, spores can spread from Kansas to North Dakota and throughout the entire plains region. Protecting the flag leaf with a timely fungicide application is a must, but when facing stripe rust, treating earlier may be critical to stay ahead of the disease. Absolute® Maxx fungicide effectively controls fungal diseases such as rust and other leaf diseases. 


Scab can be dangerous and can decrease your grain quality if you don’t properly separate the high-quality grain from scab-infected grain. Poor quality grain with high mycotoxin levels can lead to rejection at the elevator. Prosaro® offers great disease control of scab, leaf and head diseases while improving grain quality and maximizing wheat yields.

Foliar Diseases:

Throughout the growing season, growers combat foliar disease. Protecting the two top leaves with fungicides will help diminish foliar diseases in wheat fields.

Good luck with your crop this growing season. Remember to stay up to date on agronomic wheat disease trends, protect grain quality and to not let diseases drain your grain.

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