WSU launches stripe rust alert website

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PULLMAN -- A new website has been launched to alert wheat growers about stripe rust and ways to manage the fungus.

Information for the site will be compiled by Xianming Chen, a Washington State University adjunct professor and research plant pathologist.

Stripe rust is a foliar disease that can spread rapidly through the air. The fungus caused significant losses to wheat crops in 2011 due to the cool, wet conditions favored by the disease.

In a release, Chen said stripe rust is much less prevalent in the Pacific Northwest this year, but another threat to growers is unnecessary spending on fungicide applications, as some farmers may overspray because of their recollection of last year's conditions.

"Fungicide applications can cost between $5 and $20 per acre, so farmers can realize significant savings if they withhold unnecessary treatments," Chen said.

In addition to assessments of stripe rust prevalence and management, the site will feature charts with wheat varieties and their resistance to stripe rust to allow growers to factor resistance into management plans.

While the site will focus on the Pacific Northwest, it will also review the stripe rust outlook in other states, Chen said.

On the net

Stripe rust alert site: striperustalert.wsu.edu.

Growers can also receive stripe rust alerts via email by contacting Chen at xianming@wsu.edu.

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