Stripe rust is one of those diseases that has been around for a while, but hasn’t really been that much of a threat. A few new developments with regards to the disease may have changed that. Firstly, resistance to stripe rust in one variety of winter wheat was found to be ineffective. Second, the disease was discovered to have overwintered in Southern Alberta. Those two elements combined to help stripe rust to develop some “teeth” in its ability to cause damage.
The longer season for the disease is a big part of why stripe rust could be a bigger problem this year. Overwintering gives the disease that much more time to become a problem for wheat. Typically the spores blow in later in the season and anything that does develop dies off in the colder temperatures. That short disease cycle, coupled with resistance in some winter varieties made it hard for stripe rust to cause any significant problem.
Dr. Denis Gaudet is a Plant Pathologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Lethbridge, Alberta. I asked him about these new developments and about the implications for farmers.
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