Stripe rust on winter wheat being reported near Olds, Alta.

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development – On June 2, Drs. Krishan Kumar and Kequan Xi saw heavy infections of stripe rust on winter wheat in the cereal breeding nursery at Olds. They did not see the disease in adjacent spring wheat plots.

Additionally, there were some stripe rust pustules in winter wheat in the breeding plots and in one of two commercial fields surveyed in Lacombe about a week ago. Dr. Kumar observed stripe rust pustules in three of three winter wheat fields in Bentley a week ago as well. All winter wheat fields or plots surveyed displayed growth good conditions and there is no apparent winter kill. No stripe rust was observed on June 4 at the Trochu breeding site.

Drs. Kumar and Xi note that they have never observed such an early and severe development of stripe rust in winter wheat in central Alberta before. It is likely that the stripe rust pathogen was able to overwinter in parts of Alberta under the insulated conditions provided by the abundant snow cover this past winter.

Research has shown that there may be an earlier development of stripe rust in susceptible spring wheat growing in close proximity to infected winter wheat. This is especially concerning for any fields with susceptible cereal cultivars in an area where stripe rust is reported. Consequently, there is an elevated need to scout spring wheat fields and monitor for early stripe infection, especially in the areas around Olds, Lacombe and Bentley. Early and frequent scouting is recommended.

So far, Dr. Denis Gaudet’s surveillance activities have not reported any stripe rust in southern Alberta.

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