KDA calls on farmers to treat fields for flag smut

By Chris Swick
August 20, 2015

Kansas wheat farmers are being encouraged to be proactive in disease prevention for their crop as the wheat planting season nears.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture issued that message to the state's producers Thursday, noting that wheat flag smut was detected in Kansas earlier this summer, which could have potential yield and trade implications from the fungus prevention in the upcoming crop.

McPherson County Agriculture and Natural Resource Agent Jonie James says, for this reason, fungicides are an important part of the wheat production process.

“Seed treatments can effectively mange seed-born disease such as common bundt, flag smut and loose smut,” James said, “generally improve stand establishment, suppress the development of root-rot diseases and inhibit the development of foliar diseases in the fall.”

James says there are really four reasons producers should consider seed fungicide treatments.

“Priorities for use of wheat seed treatment fungicides should occur on those seed lots from fields known to have low levels of loose smut, flag smut and common bundt,” James said, “wheat that is intended for seed production in the following years, seed lots that have low germination caused seed-born fusarium or other fungi, or when adverse weather conditions delay your planting to when you're planting wheat into cool, wet soils.”

For additional information on wheat diseases in Kansas, you can go to agriculture.ks.gov or the Kansas Research and Extension homepage.