Wheat Disease Management

Goal #1

Develop and validate prediction models tools for diseases affecting wheat and tools that support disease management decisions and help reduce yield losses

Milestones/Performance Expectations:

  • Develop data sets based on historical records of economically important wheat disease epidemics in the US. For example, priority diseases could include but are not limited to stripe rust, leaf rust, stem rust and Parastagonospora leaf blotch.
  • Provide preliminary models based on historical observations and new data collected via the NPMTI cooperators.
  • Document the relative contributions of in-field vs. external inoculum sources to disease development
  • Develop models describing the relationship between environment, location, pathogen survival and inoculum levels.
  • Establish protypes of web-based tools that allow expanded model validation and delivery via extension programs in key wheat producing states
  • Integrate multiple diseases in web-based tools for convenient, centralized delivery to stakeholders

Performance Measures:

Preliminary models for economically important wheat diseases based on historical observations of disease epidemics and data from the NPMTI research plots. Initial models describing the relationship of environment with local pathogen populations and inoculum levels in key wheat-producing regions of the US.

Research Needs:

  • Observations of overwintering pathogen populations in residues, inoculum levels and environment within replicated research plots.
  • Experiments optimizing the methods for monitoring pathogen populations and inoculum levels within wheat field environments
  • Modeling efforts to describe the influence of environment on pathogen population, inoculum levels and disease development.
  • Models describing the development of wheat disease epidemics within the US which link patterns of atmospheric connectivity (regional inoculum dispersal) and local environmental conduciveness.

Outputs:

  • Historical data sets of wheat disease epidemics in the US
  • Models of wheat disease epidemics based on environment and pathogen inoculum
  • Web-based tools for model deployment that assist wheat farmers with management decisions
  • Understanding the influence of local crop residues on the risk of disease development

Resources:

A team of plant pathologists and plant epidemiologists that collaborate to develop elite forecasting tools for wheat diseases that are effective in key wheat producing regions of the US. This effort leverages existing previous investments in atmospheric sciences (NOAA-NWS, Los Alamos National Labs). The modeling effort for wheat could be enhanced by adding additional states and cooperators to the team.

Anticipated Impact:

These projects provide the next generation of wheat disease prediction models that can be tested through larger multi-state projects. Producers will make decisions based on regionally validated science-based information. These projects address specific knowledge gaps identified through interaction with wheat producers.

Goal #2

Enhance communication and end-user education/outreach for an audience including, but not limited to, producers, agricultural advisors, research community, and grain processors.

Milestones/Performance Expectations:

  • Resources and recommendations related to the integrated management of wheat diseases on the Crop Protection Network (CPN) and integrated into state-level Extension presentations, publications, and newsletters providing timely management recommendations.
  • Training exercises (videos, webinars, etc.) for farmers and practitioners describing how to use newly developed tools
  • Surveys of extension audiences and model users to evaluate progress and impact of the tools developed by the NPTMI

Performance Measures:

New educational resources available to wheat producers that describe the best available disease management methods. Availably of web-based tools supporting disease management decisions in critical wheat producing regions, across multiple diseases.

Research Needs:

  • Development of novel approaches for communicating disease management recommendations to wheat producers.
  • Surveys of growers at the start of project and again after tool deployment to assess how they acquire information about the adoption of wheat disease management techniques, potential barriers to adoption, willingness to pay for added inputs, and impact of predictive models developed by the NPMTI.
  • Involve key group of stakeholders during development phase to provide feedback for tools to ensure they are user-friendly and with understandable documentation.
  • Development of tools that will help growers assess and understand the value of adopting wheat disease management practices.
  • On-farm demonstrations of best available management options for wheat diseases.

Outputs:

  • Timely information about wheat disease risk for growers via access to online resources and through mobile device platforms.
  • Information on wheat disease management available via national websites and customized for distribution through extension programs in key wheat producing states.
  • On farm demonstrations of technologies developed by NPTMI.

Resources:

A team of plant pathologists and epidemiologists that will collaborate to develop elite forecasting tools for wheat diseases in critical wheat-producing regions of the US. Each of the participating programs already has established extension programs and audiences. These extension programs provide a ready audience for the new information and tools developed by the Wheat NPMTI team.

Anticipated Impact:  

Wheat growers using new technologies and information to make management decisions. Surveys document changes in grower behavior to better manage wheat diseases, increase profitability and avoid unnecessary pesticide applications.