Kansas Wheat Crop Faces Stripe Rust Threat: Early Fungicide Application Key to Mitigating Yield Loss

By Trish Svoboda

The appearance of stripe rust is an additional setback to this year’s wheat crop. However, Kansas farmers are advised to survey their fields and prepare their management strategies to combat this disease. Stripe rust has been identified in 35 counties across Kansas, as reported by the Wheat Ag Pest Monitor.

Kelsey Anderson Onofre, K-State assistant professor of plant pathology, said since the K-State Agronomy eUpdate was published on May 2, the risk of severe disease has elevated in north-central and northwest Kansas.

Stripe rust, a disease favoring cool, humid conditions, presents as yellow-orange stripes on plant leaves. Its spread slows with warmer temperatures. The disease’s timing is critical, impacting yield and quality during flowering or early kernel-filling stages, especially on upper leaves.

In south Kansas, the wheat crop has passed the ideal fungicide application stage, reducing stripe rust’s yield loss risk. However, crops in northwest and north-central Kansas remain vulnerable. Stripe rust can decrease test weight by 3-9%, affecting flour yield and quality.

Stripe rust harms yield and quality, but early application of foliar fungicides can effectively treat it. K-State research shows a 90% chance of fungicide payoff if applied when stripe rust is detected on flag leaves. Careful scouting and attention to pre-harvest intervals are crucial.

Sign up for the KCLY Digital Newspaper, The Regional