Louisiana’s hot, humid conditions are conducive to many crop diseases. LSU AgCenter plant pathologist Trey Price’s research aims to make some of those diseases less of a threat to corn, wheat and grain sorghum.
Price is conducting fungicide efficacy trials on all three crops.
The foliar diseases northern corn leaf blight and southern rust cause the most concern for corn growers in Louisiana.
Price is testing the new fungicide Xyway that is applied in-furrow at planting to prevent or delay development of northern corn leaf blight earlier in the season. His trials are designed to determine the effectiveness of the fungicide and potential economic benefits.
The scientist noted some issues with delayed emergence during 2021 in fields treated with Xyway, particularly in situations where starter fertilizer was applied.
“It appears there may have been an interaction between the cold weather, fungicide application and fertilizer type and placement that led to the delay,” Price said. “We won’t know until August if that delay affected yields.”
Weather did impede planting this season for researchers and farmers. Weather is always a struggle, Price said, and this year was no exception.
Wheat acreage, which had been historically low over the past few years, was up this year. Price said growers had been hesitant to plant wheat because the disease Fusarium head blight, or scab, has been very problematic in recent years.
“Managing scab has been difficult, and growers can’t sell their crop if toxin levels produced by the fungus are too high,” he said.
Price has worked with other AgCenter scientists to evaluate scab severity in variety trials to help growers avoid planting a wheat variety more susceptible to the disease. Price is also evaluating experimental and commercially available fungicides to manage this disease.
He is conducting hybrid trials on grain sorghum at the LSU AgCenter Macon Ridge Research Station. Price said he sprays half the plot with a fungicide and the leaves the other half untreated to see how the fungicides work against disease pressure as compared to using no treatment.
Price noted that grain sorghum acreage was also up this year. He said even though acreage was very low in recent years, they continued to conduct research for those growers.
“We do the work every year as acreage ups and downs occur,” he said. “We know we will get a lot of contacts requesting information about diseases in grain sorghum, so we like to have up-to-date information for growers.”
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture