Wet weather spurs on disease pressure


With the wet cool weather we have been experiencing, disease pressure among Kansas crops could become a bigger issue then normal. Fungi cause most crop diseases and growth of these organisms are favored by wet conditions. Diseases can be a yield-robbing problem by causing damage to the foliage of the plant or by directly affecting the grain of the crops. There are many classifications of diseases and include mildews, rusts, smuts, blights, galls as well as others. Mildews typically look like a white fuzzy area that appears on the leaves or stem. This fuzz is actually part of the fungal pathogen itself. Rusts appear as red or orange lesions or pustules on the plant. Smuts are sooty gray or white fungal growth that many times affects the reproductive parts of plants. Blights are dead leaf or stem tissues as well as wilting that are caused by pathogens. Galls are tumors in a plant of increased foliage growth that are caused by fungi, which can affect healthy plant growth. Good news is that many of the times these types of diseases can be prevented either early application of fungicides or a later application typically just before the reproductive stage of the plant. Also other ways of preventing an infection from happening is by selecting a resistant variety to the disease in question. Also cultural control measures such as crop rotation, good planting timing, and proper field drainage are also factors that could help to prevent an infection.

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