Think about preventing disease in winter wheat

Published 3:31 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2016

by Janet Spencer

Happy Spring … FINALLY (maybe?)! I think Mother Nature takes the prize this year with the best April Fool’s joke. How many of us were lured into a false sense of security that winter was over and there would be no more freezes or frosts? I know I was. It seems that only a small percentage of corn was planted either just prior to or just after the latest cold snap, so hopefully any cold-related issues will be kept at a minimum. For the most part, wheat is looking good, however, there have been reports of wheat diseases in Suffolk and on the Eastern Shore, so continue to monitor your wheat, especially as we see temperatures rise. The long-term forecast shows a full week of warmer temperatures, so hopefully our spring surprises from Mother Nature are over.

As always, please don’t hesitate to call me should you have any questions or concerns.

NRCS Update

Anyone who would like free assistance with conservation planning can contact Mike Faulk ( or Jake Browder ( at 357-7004. This includes cover crops, pollinators, soil health, erosion control, etc.

Also, in case you were not aware, the NRCS/FSA building on Wimbledon Lane in Smithfield was recently remodeled. The new entrance to access NRCS/FSA is on the left side of the building. The Peanut SWCD can be accessed on the right side of the building. The double doors on the front of the building will remain closed.

Wheat Update

Now that wheat is actively growing, it’s time to think about disease prevention. Once the flag leaf emerges, it needs to be protected from diseases if conditions are conducive to development. Typically, favorable conditions for wheat disease development are high humidity and warm temperatures. The seven-day forecast had rain over the weekend followed by warm temperatures, so we can expect ideal conditions for wheat diseases to occur. So far this year, powdery mildew has been found throughout Virginia, leaf blotch as been observed in southeast Virginia, and stripe rust has been found in Suffolk and on the Eastern Shore.

Risk for head scab remains low in the area, but I encourage you to check the FHB prediction tool at to monitor scab risk for our area. Triazoles, including Caramba, Proline and Prosaro are good options for scab control and will also control late-season foliar diseases. Keep in mind that strobilurin fungicides, such as Headline, should not be applied after heading. While they are a good option for many of our foliar diseases, applications made after heading can increase vomitoxin.

Production Awards

Congratulations to the following local producers on outstanding production during the 2015 growing season! Also, a special congratulations for John Allen for winning the 2015 Peanut Production Award for Isle of Wight County.

2-Ton Peanut Award:

• John Allen

• Babb Farms

• Brian Atkins

• Holland Farms

2-Bale Cotton Award:

• John Allen

• Brian Atkins

• Babb Farms

• Byrum Family Farms

• Holland Farms

Upcoming Events

•Virginia Small Grains Field Day: Thursday,, May 19 in Warsaw. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m.

JANET SPENCER is the Extension agent, ANR, for Isle of Wight County. Contact her at 365-6262 or