Texas Wheat: Warm Weather Has Rust Levels Rising

    Just as fields started to dry out, we have more rain in the forecast. Chances start Saturday in the afternoon and roll along all next week. Temperatures will average around 60°-70°. The National Weather Service predicts that the next three months will be warmer than usual. The possibility of a late freeze in April has producers worried about the speedy growth of wheat and the earlier

    Most wheat is at Feekes 5, but some has been seen at first node. Rust levels have increased in many fields. The vast majority of it is leaf rust, which is typical for these warmer temperatures. Leaf rust has been seen moving up the plant, aided by the rains last week. Some stripe rust has been seen on the middle leaves of tillers. Powdery mildew can be found in very thick stands on the lower leaves.

    The picture right shows leaf rust causing yellowing of the lower leaves. These leaves will be shaded out and die naturally as the plant matures, but long periods of leaf wetness and warmer temperatures may cause the rust to infect newer leaves, and the flag leaf when it emerges.

    Winter grain mites have been spotted among thicker wheat, but are not a concern at this time. Fields that have a silvery appearance may have very high mite infestations.

    Bird cherry-oat aphids vary greatly in population from field to field. In some fields, beneficial insects have nearly completely wiped them out. Wheat plants can tolerate a great number of BCOA, especially after tillering stages.

    Very few greenbugs have been seen.

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