Field Day Participants Told Stripe Rust Attacking Louisiana Wheat Crop

Stephen Harrison, Coolman, Denise, Padgett, Guy B., Hollier, Clayton A.  |  5/4/2005 2:17:48 AM

Producers learn about different wheat varieties during the LSU AgCenter's Wheat and Oat Field Day April 25 at the LSU AgCenter’s Scott Research, Extension and Education Center near Winnsboro. During the field day, participants were told unseasonably cool weather and wet conditions made this spring the perfect time for stripe rust to attack Louisiana wheat crops.

News Release Distributed 05/03/05

WINNSBORO – An LSU AgCenter expert says unseasonably low temperatures and wet weather give this spring the right conditions for stripe rust to attack Louisiana wheat crops.

Dr. Clayton Hollier, an LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, told participants in last week’s (April 25) AgCenter Wheat and Oat Field Day that stripe rust "seems to be the big disease out there" this year in the state’s wheat fields.

"The low temperatures we’ve been having are driving the stripe rust epidemic," Hollier said. "I believe this (epidemic) will have a major impact on yields this year."

Stripe rust is a fungal disease that causes problems for Louisiana wheat growers.

During the field day at the LSU AgCenter’s Scott Research, Education and Extension Center at Winnsboro, Dr. Boyd Padgett, another LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, also said this year has been "especially tough" because the rust came early to Louisiana wheat crops. Producers have resorted to using fungicides, he said.

"And this is not something producers want to have to do because fungicides are expensive," Padgett said.

Padgett and other LSU AgCenter researchers are evaluating fungicides such as Tilt, Propimax, Stratego, Headline, Quilt and Quadris for control of stripe rust across Louisiana.

Dr. Steve Harrison, an LSU AgCenter wheat breeder, said the physiology of the disease may be changing, making it even more of a problem for producers.

"The rule of thumb is that when the nighttime temperatures reach 65 degrees, stripe rust goes away," Harrison said. "But it didn’t this year."

Researchers are screening wheat varieties for genetic resistance to the disease. LA841 is one variety that has shown excellent stripe rust resistance, according to the experts.

"That’s this year," Harrison said. "We can’t guarantee it will be resistant next year, because stripe rust, like other rust diseases, can change races over time."

The lower nighttime temperatures and problems those are bringing producers come as no surprise to J.C. Etier, an 87-year-old producer from Mangham. Etier said he knew, as early as February, April would bring a cold snap to the state.

"There’s an old saying that if you hear thunder in February, there will be a cold snap in April," Etier said. "We heard thunder in February, and now it’s April and we’re having a cold snap. I’ve been around 87 years, and I’ve been on a farm all of my life. Young people might not believe these old sayings, but I’ve been around long enough and I’ve heard many tales and I can tell you they are true."

In addition to stripe rust, field day participants also heard presentations on fusarium head blight, multi-cropping cotton and wheat, seeding rate studies in wheat, and breeder seed increases in the LSU AgCenter program.

For more information on this and other agriculture-related issues, as well as information on education, economics, health and a variety of other topics, go to


Steve Harrison at (225) 578-1308 or
Clayton Hollier at (225) 578-4487 or
Boyd Padgett at (318) 435-2157 or
A. Denise Coolman at (318) 547-0921 or

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