Wheat School: Getting Burned by Physiological Fleck


Did you apply sunscreen on your wheat? Your crop could probably use it.

Every summer RealAgriculture agronomist Peter Johnson is deluged with questions about diseased wheat when the crop is actually suffering from physiological fleck caused by the sun’s UVB radiation – just common sunburn. Johnson says growers call him up wanting help identifying the disease and asking what they can spray. “Lots of people want to do something about it, but you can’t. There’s no fungicide that does anything.”

In this episode of Real Agriculture Wheat School, Johnson provides some simple tips on how to distinguish physiological fleck from leaf diseases. He says sunburned leaves likely cost growers some yield, but side-by-side trials indicate the impact is not “as much as you think.”

Johnson adds, however, that it’s important for growers to be able to distinguish the difference between physiological fleck and leaf diseases. “At the end of the day, you can’t do anything about it, but you need to know what it is because if you have a disease, you spray; if it’s physiological fleck you take your lumps and live with it.”

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