Ontario wheat getting burned by physiological fleck

As the rain continues to fall, it’s hard to believe that the Ontario winter wheat crop could be suffering from sunburn.

But this week at the Exeter Agribusiness meeting, P&H sales and agronomy manager Jeff Jacques confirmed the presence of physiological fleck in wheat fields near Centralia, Ontario.

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 throwback 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.” (Story continues after the video.)

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.”

Click here for more Wheat School episodes.

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