Loss of test weights are a problem for millers and contamination of the grain reduces yield, producing a double loss for growers.

It is critical to know that of the three fungicide family options, only triazole fungicides are effective and labeled for use on fusarium head blight in wheat.

Several strains of rust and powdery mildew are also frequent problems for growers, and they require different fungicides or combinations of fungicides from one disease to another.

The key is to know which disease is causing the problem, or most likely to cause the problem, and to use the optimum fungicide available.

Even knowing wheat diseases doesn’t always provide a clear cut choice for fungicides.

If leaf rust and scab occur, it’s likely to come down to which is worse and how the weather will increase or decrease the chances the disease will be severe enough to cause yield loss, because the best fungicide for each disease is different.

If powdery mildew is the primary disease threat, Weisz says the options are little more clear. Fungicides should be applied when powdery mildew covers 5 percent of the upper leaves and leaf rust covers 1 percent.

The North Carolina State specialist says growers should consult one of several websites with information on disease management to choose the fungicide best suited to their particular combination of disease pressure.

In tests in North Carolina last year, Weisz found that timing preventative fungicides is critical to success.

In general, in fields with high disease pressure, Twinline or Quilt applied at top-dress time were not much better than the yields from check plots.

On the other hand, if either of these materials was applied at the flag leaf stage, both produced nearly 20 bushels per acre higher than the check plots.

In areas with low disease pressure the same results were evident, but the yield gains were significantly less.

Getting the wheat crop up and healthy in the spring will give growers the best opportunity to get the crop out in a timely matter, make the best possible profit, and allow them time to get the land ready for soybean planting.

Yield losses from delaying planting date of soybeans is well documented in the Southeast.

However, Virginia Tech Soybean Specialist David Holshouser says in some cases last year, he saw better yields on later planted beans, because the late summer weather pattern was more conducive for flowering and seed development.

Getting it all right could mean a winning hand for Southeast growers.