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2012 Weather Conditions Help Suppress Plant Disease

22 June 2012

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CANADA - A plant science instructor with the University of Manitoba reports weather conditions so far this season have given crops the edge when it comes to resisting disease, writes Bruce Cochrane.

The 2012 growing season has been characterized by an early spring which allowed farmers to complete planting earlier than normal and the majority of crops are heading into the summer in excellent condition.

Gary Martens, a plant science instructor with the University of Manitoba, says crops are uniform and healthy.

Gary Martens-University of Manitoba

Rust disease for example is one that blows in from the south and I have not heard any reports that we have an epidemic of rust coming.

Fusarium is around all the time everywhere and the wheat is susceptible and cereals as well if there's high humidity at flowering and we haven't really seen a lot of high humidity consistently.

We've had a few dry periods in between our rains so I'm not sure exactly how bad it's going to be but it's a very hit and miss kind of thing.

If your wheat is flowering and it's high humidity, high temperatures then you might have fusarium problems.

In terms of sclerotinia for broadleaf crops, it's always around so it's just ubiquitous here and high moisture conditions, high humidity will encourage its development.

But again, I would not say that we have really bad conditions in terms of disease right now.

I think things are looking very good and farmers will start putting on some fungicides onto their susceptible crops.

Martens notes crop development is running ahead of normal and he anticipates an early harvest this year which will begin with winter wheat in about mid-July.

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