Wheat School: Stripe rust here to stay, but help is on the way

Stripe rust was back in Ontario wheat fields again in 2017. This year the presence of the disease was first confirmed in Essex County by AGRIS Co-operative. This marks the second consecutive year the disease has devastated farm fields in the province.

But help is on the way.

In this edition of RealAgriculture Wheat School, our resident agronomist Peter Johnson visits with C&M Seeds general manager Ellen Sparry at the site of the Ontario Cereal Performance Trials. In this interview, Sparry notes that the key to beating stripe rust is finding the right genetics and there are some promising performers in the variety trials.

“I think we’re making some good progress. It depends on what races (of stripe rust) show up in a given year but there are good things coming down the pipe,” says Sparry. “There are some good varieties there, good genetics, that can be enhanced with applications of fungicide.”

Johnson notes that some varieties that escaped stripe rust in 2016 were hit by the disease in 2017 and this indicates the shifting nature of the disease and the presence of different races. He believes that after two consecutive years of rust damage in the province, Ontario growers will now have to consider the disease when making variety selections in the future.

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