Nebraska Plant Pathologists Outline Pre-Planting Steps to Reduce Winter Wheat Diseases

Pre-planting steps can be taken to reduce winter wheat disease problems in 2018.
Pre-planting steps can be taken to reduce winter wheat disease problems in 2018.

As the seasons change, producers are looking ahead to fall and winter. Now, plant pathologists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources are offering insight into how wheat producers, in particular, can prepare for winter and limit disease in their crop.

Much of the preparation will depend on the next few weeks, according to the experts. The quicker stands can be established in the fall, the healthier plants will be heading into the dormant season. The pathologists also believe that prepping wheat in the fall can give it a better chance against stresses the following spring.

As autumn rolls in, the experts suggest that producers use the recommended planting date in their area. This date is ideal for maintaining a strong crop and giving it the best chance at survival. Planting cultivars with some resistance to conditions, such as stripe rust or wheat streak mosaic, can ward off infection. This is something producers should keep in mind as they prepare their plants with next spring in mind.

In addition to using resistant cultivars, the experts encourage utilizing a mellow seedbed, which reduces the chance of crown and root rot disease. Ultimately, it will reduce stress on the plants.

Routine weed control can put wheat crops in a better position to thrive. Producers may also want to consider treating seeds with fungicide if they observe signs of root rot. More information and tips can be found by visiting