KDA, K-State continuing wheat flag smut survey through June

KDA, K-State continuing wheat flag smut survey through June

Flag smut spotted in Kansas wheat fields for first time in decades in 2015; survey continues this year

Kansas wheat farmers should stay vigilant in scouting for wheat disease, especially flag smut, which was detected in Kansas in 2015 for the first time since the 1930s, although it was only found in low levels in a small portion of the wheat crop.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture, in coordination with the Kansas State University Department of Plant Pathology, is continuing to conduct a targeted flag smut survey through the end of June in targeted counties.

FLAG SMUT: This foliar disease hadn't been seen in Kansas since the 1930s until last year. Farmers are being ureged to be on the lookout for it in fields this year.

KDA will be surveying areas which showed previous signs of infestation to determine whether producers implemented best management practices to control the disease. Preliminary surveys conducted so far in 2016 have indicated that flag smut is present again this season, but it is not yet known to what extent.

This survey will better determine the spread of the disease. The survey will cover the following counties: Stafford, Pratt, Kiowa, Edwards, Pawnee, Barton, Rush, Lincoln, Russell, Dickinson, Ottawa, Ellis, Trego, Graham, Rooks, Phillips, Smith, Ness, Wichita, Scott, and Decatur Counties. 

Flag smut is a fungus carried by spores that can be borne on the seed, blown by wind short distances or moved with machinery. The fungal spores produced near flowering of the crop have the possibility of surviving up to four years in the soil. The spores infect the seed prior to emergence from the soil. Symptoms include dark streaks on the leaves of the infected wheat plant and a twisted flag leaf. Flag smut tends to stunt growth and reduce tillering but has generally low impact on yield when compared with other wheat diseases.Flag smut presents no human or animal health concern and has no impact on grain quality. It can have a negative impact on wheat yield, the severity of which is determined by the infestation level of the field.

KDA is working with KSU Research and Extension to continue to share flag smut best management practices through normal outreach activities, including online resources, newsletters and discussion at field days. KDA is committed to serving farmers and protecting plant health in order to ensure the continued strength of the agriculture industry in Kansas.

For more information about flag smut, go to the KDA website at www.agriculture.ks.gov/ppws.

If you have questions about this year’s survey, please contact Jeff Vogel, manager of the KDA Plant Protection and Weed Control program, at [email protected], or 785-564-6699.

TAGS: Wheat
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