Damon Smith, Extension Field Crops Pathologist, Brian Mueller, Assistant Field Researcher, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The Badger Crop Docs have started scouting wheat in south-central Wisconsin over the past few days. In general the crop needs some heat and is moving slow. However, the overall health looks good.
The mild winter of 2019/2020 was needed as a lot of the wheat was planted late and into less than ideal conditions last fall, due to the extremely wet weather. The mild winter spared stands that weren’t well established, including some of our own research plots. Most fields we have been in are still tillering.
No visible disease is present in any of the fields we have scouted. However, it will be important to keep visiting fields and scout. Also be sure to pay attention to local extension and follow our blog to keep up to speed on any developments as we move forward. The biggest disease concerns for Wisconsin wheat will be stripe rust and Fusarium head blight. You will want to be prepared to manage these diseases if they should become problematic. You can keep track of the status of these diseases nationally by visiting the Stripe Rust Ag Monitor and the Fusarium Head Blight Risk Tool. The key to managing both diseases is to catch them before they arrive. Both of these resources can be used to help you anticipate the arrival of these diseases in your field. Continue to check back here regularly for more reports and scout, scout, scout!
Here is a very short early season wheat field scouting video from a couple years ago.