New crop disease infests wheat fields

North Dakota State Roundup

Published April 1, 2000  | April 2000 issue

In recent years, crop farmers in Minnesota and North Dakota have spent considerable time worrying about the crop disease scab—and researchers have expended resources to study the problem. Now, ag officials warn, other diseases may be taking hold, and part of the reason for their emergence may be all the attention dedicated to scab.

Last year, fields in Minnesota and North Dakota that produce the most common wheat varieties began to show signs of leaf rust. Those varieties were then abandoned for the spring wheat planting, but the replacement varieties are susceptible to scab.

Also, barley producers suffered losses of 38 percent last year due to outbreaks of septoria—a fungal leaf spot disease—and this year producers must decide which seed variety to plant.

To better combat new diseases, the North Dakota Wheat Commission and the North Dakota Barley Council are proposing that $750,000 be added to the Northern Crops Science Laboratory in Fargo.