Category Archives: Disease

Walk Your Fields

For greater soybean yields, one of the best things that you can do is walk your fields.  Many problems reveal themselves during the summer.  Actions taken or not taken can be very noticeable.  By walking fields, we can see what’s working and what’s not working.  Certain problems can be solved, some cannot.  For those that cannot be solved this year, we can do better next season by understanding why we have the problem.  Therefore, a review of how to diagnose your crop will likely beneficial.

A few years ago, I published “Troubleshooting The Soybean Crop“.  Although a little dated, most of the information is still good.  This publication will guide you through how to go about diagnosing problems, includes a vegetative- and reproductive-stage outline with lots of photos, and also includes a sample crop scouting and diagnostic form.  You can download a view a PDF copy, or contact me – I still have a few hard copies left.  By following some general guidelines, one can become quite good at diagnosing problems.  Below is a summary.

First, document everything!  Memories tend to fade.  We often forget or overlook details. You can document by taken notes (many phone apps or iPad/tablets work well for this).  Make a recording.  Take pictures – this is especially useful when you need help – and send those photos to others.

PRELIMINARY FACT FINDING.  You can obtain plenty of information before you even get to the field.  Although I call this preliminary (as if you’ve not seen the problem), you may need to go back to the office to refresh your memory of what you did.  Information that can be acquired beforehand or back in the office includes:     

  • Cropping History
  • Equipment
  • Soil Information
  • Weather
  • Pest Management Information
  • Tillage and Other Cultural Practices

THE FIELD VISIT

  • Take all materials and equipment needed (e.g., phones, paper, shovel, plastic bags, soil probes, etc.)
  • Windshield/Whole Field Investigation
  • Above-Ground Inspection
  • Take Appropriate Plant or Soil Samples
  • Equipment Check
  • Interaction with Others
  • Document Everything!

ANALYSIS OF DATA AND FINDINGS

  • Patterns
  • Look-Alike Symptoms
  • Interacting Factors/More Than One Problem

DRAWING A CONCLUSION. Review the facts and data.  Eliminate unlikely causes.  Validate likely causes.  You may be able to drawn a conclusion in the field, but lab analysis may be needed.

FOLLOW UP. Revisit the field.  If you took corrective action, did it work?  Why or why not?

This is a very rough outline of the guide.  Again, if you want a hard copy of Troubleshooting The Soybean Crop, contact me.

Peanut iPiPE and Disease Advisories

Especially with all the wet weather we have been having in much of the region, it is time to start thinking about peanut diseases. We do not typically see a lot of disease until the canopy closes, but once the vines are touching the environment within the canopy becomes favorable for disease development. Leaf spot programs should be applied beginning at early beginning pod then according to a calendar-based (usually 14 day intervals) or advisory based program. The leaf spot advisory for Virginia can be found at https://webipm.ento.vt.edu/cgi-bin/infonet1.cgi. Some keys to a successful leaf spot fungicide program include:

  1. Make the first application at the appropriate time (not too late).
  2. Apply fungicides regularly before leaf spot outbreaks are observed (once disease is present it is difficult to slow down the epidemic).
  3. Stick to a regular calendar-based program or utilize leaf spot advisories.
  4. Be mindful of fungicide resistance management (rotate chemistries and/or tank mix with chlorothalonil).
  5. Scout for soil-borne diseases and utilize fungicides with activity against both leaf spot and other target diseases (e.g. for both late leaf spot and southern stem rot control use a product such as Provost, Elatus, Priaxor, etc.).

Data are currently being collected to improve both leaf spot and Sclerotinia advisories and to develop a southern stem rot fungicide advisory for peanut. This is being conducted through the Peanut iPiPE program. The Integrated Pest Information Platform for Extension and Education (iPiPE) is a program that allows farmers and extension agents to share information with each other through the internet.  iPiPE works by allowing users to enter pest data such as presence and severity of diseases or insects. This data will be shared with everyone in an effort to create a more precise system of pest monitoring and management. The Plant Pathology program at the Virginia Tech Tidewater AREC is leading the Peanut iPiPE and using it to improve disease advisories based on observations of disease onset in peanut fields throughout the region. Two undergraduate interns are currently scouting for peanut diseases in the region, and they will enter disease observations into the iPiPE database.

Disease and pest observations can be easily uploaded to the database through a mobile phone app or the online platform. We are encouraging anyone who scouts peanuts to help us collect disease observations. To become a participant, you can request an iPiPE account by visiting the iPiPE platform (http://www.ipipe.org/). Detailed information on the iPiPE platform and a user guide for the mobile app can be downloaded below. Alternatively, you can email disease observations to Dr. Hillary Mehl (hlmehl@vt.edu). In addition, if you are located in southeastern Virginia or northeastern North Carolina and are interested in having your peanut crop scouted for diseases by our iPiPE interns, please contact us.

Peanut iPiPE Stakeholder Card 2018

Peanut iPiPE Users Guide 2018

For more information or questions regarding the Peanut iPiPE contact Dr. Hillary Mehl (hlmehl@vt.edu).

 

 

 

New Crop Disease Management Resources

Though it has been around for several years, the Crop Protection Network (CPN) has recently added several publications on disease management in corn, soybean, and small grains that are relevant to growers, crop consultants, and extension personnel in Virginia and the surrounding region. These can be accessed at the CPN website cropprotectionnetwork.org. As stated on the website:

“The Crop Protection Network (CPN) is a multi-state and international partnership of university and provincial Extension specialists, and public and private professionals that provides unbiased, research-based information. Our goal is to communicate relevant information to farmers and agricultural personnel to help with decisions related to protecting field crops.

Extension specialists throughout the country (including myself) contribute to the publications and other resources posted on the website. An example of a recent publication on optimizing fungicide use for control of Fusarium head blight can be downloaded below. The CPN library includes over 30 publications on crop management, and additional publications are in development.

CPN-3001-Optimizing Fungicide Use for FHB

Wheat Disease Update – May 24, 2018

Fusarium head blight (FHB) risk for Virginia continues to be to high throughout the state due to recent wet, warm weather (http://www.wheatscab.psu.edu/). Most of the wheat is past the flowering stage and no longer at risk, but later flowering wheat may still need a fungicide application. Triazole fungicides including Prosaro, Caramba, and Proline are recommended. Do not apply fungicides containing a strobilurin since this can increase DON. For wheat that is past flowering, a fungicide application will not reduce FHB or DON contamination of the grain. Grain harvested from fields with signs and symptoms of FHB should be kept separate from non-infested grain.

For assistance with disease identification or management recommendations, contact Dr. Hillary L. Mehl, Extension Plant Pathologist (hlmehl@vt.edu).

Wheat Disease Update – May 15, 2018

Three-day forecast for Fusarium head blight (FHB) risk on susceptible wheat varieties.

FHB risk is increasing in Virginia and will continue to increase over the next several days. Risk is highest on the Eastern Shore, but susceptible varieties such as Shirley that are flowering over the next week will be at moderate to high risk in many portions of the state. Growers should monitor the FHB risk tool (www.wheatscab.psu.edu) as their wheat crop begins to flower. Consider applying a fungicide if risk is moderate to high, especially on susceptible or moderately susceptible varieties. Wheat that has completed flowering is no longer at risk. Fungicides should be applied at early flowering or up to one week later. Do not apply a strobilurin-containing fungicide since this can increase DON contamination. Recommended fungicides include Prosaro, Caramba, and Proline.

Steve Rideout, Extension Plant Pathologist at the Eastern Shore AREC, confirmed stripe rust on research plots of Shirley on Monday. FHB risk continues to be high on the Eastern Shore, so growers in this part of the state with varieties that are susceptible to stripe rust should consider an application of Prosaro, Caramba, or Proline since these will control both FHB and rust.

Stripe rust on wheat.

For assistance with disease identification or management recommendations, contact Dr. Hillary L. Mehl, Extension Plant Pathologist (hlmehl@vt.edu).

 

Wheat Disease Update – April 30, 2018

As wheat starts flowering in the region, it is time to consider whether or not to make a fungicide application for Fusarium head blight (FHB). Currently, risk is low in most parts of Virginia. There are a few exceptions, including portions of the Eastern Shore, where risk is moderate to high.

The most effective fungicides for control of FHB and DON are Caramba (metconazole), Prosaro (prothioconazole + tebuconazole), and Proline (prothioconazole). Less expensive triazoles such as Tilt (propiconazole) and Folicur (tebuconazole) will provide some control, but if FHB risk is high these fungicides are unlikely to prevent unacceptable levels of DON contamination. Keep in mind that fungicides containing a strobilurin should not be applied after the flag leaf stage since they can increase DON contamination.

Current FHB risk in Virginia and the surrounding region. Green, yellow, and red indicate low, moderate, and high risk, respectively. FHB risk can be monitored using the Fusarium Risk Assessment Tool (http://www.wheatscab.psu.edu/).

To maximize their effectiveness, fungicides for FHB and DON control should be applied at early flowering or up to one week later. Fungicides that control FHB and DON will also control foliar diseases including powdery mildew, leaf rust, stripe rust, and leaf blotch. Stripe rust has been found in NC and was recently reported from a single field in Warsaw, VA so be sure to scout susceptible varieties for this disease. For specific wheat disease management recommendations or assistance with disease identification, contact Dr. Hillary L. Mehl (hlmehl@vt.edu).

 

Wheat Disease Update – April 19, 2018

Currently the wheat crop in Virginia is near flag leaf emergence, and flowering will start within a couple of weeks. As flowering begins, be sure to monitor the FHB risk in your area using the Fusarium Head Blight Prediction Center website. Currently, most of Virginia has low risk for FHB infection. The exception is the Eastern Shore where risk is moderate to high in many areas, especially on susceptible varieties such as Shirley. Powdery mildew outbreaks have been observed in some fields this season, and incidence of common rust has been sporadic. Stripe rust has been found in North Carolina, but it has not been reported from Virginia. The 2018 Wheat Fungicide Efficacy Table can be downloaded below. Once wheat approaches the heading stage, keep in mind that strobilurin fungicides should no longer be applied. For specific wheat disease management recommendations or assistance with disease identification, contact Dr. Hillary L. Mehl (hlmehl@vt.edu).

2018 NCERA 184 Wheat Fungicide Table

Wheat Disease Update – April 12, 2018

Currently the wheat crop is in the jointing stages, and we are several weeks away from flowering. Currently the Fusarium head blight (FHB) risk is low for most areas of the state except for the Eastern Shore. These conditions may change as the wheat crop approaches flowering, so be sure to continue monitoring the FHB risk tool (http://www.wheatscab.psu.edu/). Moderate to severe outbreaks of powdery mildew have been reported from several fields in the past week. Be sure to scout wheat fields at this time and apply fungicide when disease is first detected. The updated Wheat Fungicide Efficacy Table can be downloaded below. For specific wheat disease management recommendations or assistance with disease identification, contact Dr. Hillary L. Mehl (hlmehl@vt.edu).

 

NCERA 184 Wheat fungicide table 2017_Final

Update on the Boxwood Blight Situation in Virginia and Recommendations for Minimizing Disease Introduction and Spread from the Virginia Boxwood Blight Task Force

Current situation in Virginia, 10/6/17

According to records of the Virginia Boxwood Blight Task Force, to date boxwood blight has been diagnosed in over 70 locations and approximately 30 counties in Virginia. There are likely additional undocumented incidences of the disease, for example, if no sample was submitted for diagnosis through Virginia Cooperative Extension or the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Although boxwood blight has been diagnosed in many counties in Virginia, there is no indication that it is widespread throughout any Virginia county. This is not unexpected, based on the current understanding of the biology of the boxwood blight pathogen. Boxwood blight is typically initially introduced into a new location on infected boxwood or other susceptible plants (e.g. pachysandra and sweet box). Holiday greenery containing infected boxwood can also introduce the disease into a new location. However, boxwood blight is not spread long-distance via wind currents. Therefore, one need not panic even if the disease has been found in one’s county. However, if the disease has been identified in one’s neighborhood, then there is a heightened risk of local spread of the disease.

After the initial introduction of boxwood blight-infected boxwood (or pachysandra or sweet box) into a location, neighborhood boxwood plantings are at risk for boxwood blight. There are a number of means by which the sticky spores of the fungal pathogen can move through a neighborhood. For example, they can be spread via contaminated pruning tools, spray hoses, equipment, vehicles, clothing, shoes, or infested leaves spread by leaf blowers. Wildlife (including birds), insects, domestic animals or humans that have been in contact with the spores may also move the infective spores through a neighborhood. Movement of the pathogen by many of these means has been documented in locations in Virginia.

To safeguard Virginia boxwood plantings and production, we call for community awareness and efforts to avoid accidental introduction of boxwood blight into new locations and prevent local spread of boxwood blight:

Specifically, we recommend and stress the following:

  • Purchase boxwood, pachysandra and sweet box only from a nursery that is listed as a member of the Boxwood Blight Cleanliness Programand/or from a retailer who sells only boxwood produced by nurseries in the Boxwood Blight Cleanliness Program.
  • If boxwood blight is suspected, immediately contact your local Extension office, which can submit a sample for confirmatory diagnosis. Where boxwood blight is confirmed, it is strongly recommended to immediately remove and double bag all diseased plants and fallen leaves as well as contaminated soil underneath the planting. The bagged waste should be removed to a designated landfill to mitigate disease spread to other boxwood in the landscape and other properties nearby.
  • Employ only landscape professionals who are aware of how boxwood blight spreads, since boxwood blight can be introduced to properties through landscape maintenance activities. The fungal spores and fallen diseased leaves can be moved on tools, boots, tarps, hoses, clothing and vehicles. Landscape professionals should have a stringent sanitation plan in place to decontaminate tools, equipment, vehicles, clothing, shoes, etc. between landscape locations and other practices that minimize the chance to move the disease through landscaping activities.
  • Adhere to best management practices outlined for boxwood blight, which are detailed in PDFs available at the Virginia Boxwood Blight Task Force website.

Additional Precautions for Landscape Professionals:

  • Landscape professionals are strongly advised to walk through a site before beginning work. This is to identify any potential boxwood blight problems and/or risks. We have heard anecdotal reports from landscape professionals of both serious equipment contamination issues and spread of the disease by unexpected encounters of the disease in a landscape.
  • Landscape contractors should at all times be equipped with a sanitation “kit” for disinfesting tools and equipment and take precautions to avoid moving spores on clothing, boots, hoses, vehicles, etc. Specific recommendations for effective sanitation methods are detailed on the Virginia Boxwood Blight Task Force website (under the “Sanitizers” tab).
  • Landscape companies should ensure their staff are familiar with the symptoms of boxwood blight so that they can recognize the disease in the landscape. Laminated wallet cards with images of symptoms of boxwood blight and information on the Virginia Boxwood Blight Task Force website are available through your local Virginia Cooperative Extension

Resources: the Virginia Boxwood Blight Task Force website and Best Management Practices

Refer to the Virginia Boxwood Blight Task Force website for further information on boxwood blight. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the appropriate Best Management Practice (BMP) for your situation. The BMPs are available on the website as PDFs.