Wheat School: Identifying and Managing Stripe Rust

Photo by Debra Murphy, 2014.

stripe rust 3 signature small2Stripe rust was reported in early spring in Alberta, likely having over-wintered in the southern part of the province, and now there are reports in Manitoba of the fungus arriving on winds from the U.S.

In this Wheat School episode, Holly Derksen, plant pathologist with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, describes how stripe rust inoculum moves north from the southern States and how the timing of its arrival determines the impact it could have on cereal crop yields.

“Winter wheat is getting to the stage where it’s getting sprayed with a fungicide at that early flower timing for fusarium head blight. Fungicide is pretty good at controlling stripe rust,” she explains. “With spring wheat we’re further away from fungicide timing, so there is potential that if we start to see it it could become an issue.”


The U.S. Department of Agriculture publishes regular updates on cereal rust observations (find them here) showing how quickly the spores move north. The disease was reported in Pembina County, North Dakota — adjacent to the Canadian border — on June 1st.

“It is a bit early this year compared to what we’d normally see for a stripe rust invasion, but it still remains to be seen if it could be an issue here,” notes Derksen.

(At the time this video was filmed, stripe rust had not yet been found in Manitoba. As of this week, it was reported in a winter wheat field southwest of Killarney. Stripe and cereal leaf rust were also observed at low levels in the MCVET winter wheat plot in Carman.)

She also explains how to diagnose the pathogen and encourages growers to scout and to report cases of the disease.

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