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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Pay attention to disease control in winter wheat

winter wheat

In Ontario, winter wheat is grown on more acres than any other cereal crop.

One reason for its popularity is that winter wheat has shown itself to be an excellent rotational option in soybean production systems. Long-term rotation studies conducted by OMAFRA have shown that including winter wheat in the rotation can help provide better soybean yields – something farmers have experienced anecdotally for years.

However, winter wheat is more than just a way to boost soybean yield. When produced with yield and quality in mind, winter wheat can be good for the bottom line. Practicing good agronomics, from seeding to harvest, ensures that winter wheat achieves the high yields it’s capable of and the grade you need to maximize your return on investment. It all starts with early disease and weed control.

Winter wheat’s growth cycle makes it more susceptible to early leaf disease than spring wheat – it comes out of dormancy and starts to produce leaves before spring wheat is even out of the ground, so fungicide timing is key.

Eastern Canadian research done on fungicide timings in winter wheat shows that the best combo is a T1 fungicide application (at herbicide timing) to protect against early-season disease, followed by a T3 application at flowering to protect against fusarium head blight (FHB), as well as late-season leaf disease. The research shows that this fungicide timing pattern consistently results in higher yield and quality.

Early weed pressure is also a serious issue in winter wheat. Scout early for weeds and be ready to take action quickly. An early herbicide application (often tank-mixed with a fungicide, see above) can set the crop up for success. The question often comes up, should I determine my herbicide application by wheat plant stage or weed stage? The best practice is to stage by weed timing and often earlier is better. Early application means weeds are smaller and easier to kill and coverage is easier to obtain because the crop canopy is still open.

What should I use? Infinity® or Infinity FX herbicide tank-mixed with Stratego® PRO fungicide provides powerful weed control and long residual disease protection for your winter wheat.

Both Infinity brands provide multiple modes of action against tough broadleaf weeds, with Infinity FX designed for heavier weed pressure. Stratego PRO gives you long-lasting, broad-spectrum leaf disease control, including control of powdery mildew and septoria leaf blotch, which are usually the first diseases to show up in winter wheat.

At T3, look no further than Prosaro® XTR, the number one FHB product in Canada and the final piece in a complete winter wheat crop protection portfolio from Bayer.