The South Dakota State University Small Grains Plant Pathology program is partnering with a similar program at North Dakota State University to deploy a small grains disease forecasting system for South Dakota.
The system uses weather variables including rainfall, temperature and relative humidity to predict the likelihood of fungal diseases development in small grains.
SDSU Extension Plant Pathologist Emmanuel Byamukama says in order for plant diseases to develop, they need a host, a pathogen and a conducive environment.
The host and most pathogens are always present, so the limiting factor then becomes the environment.
Byamukama says the objective of the forecasting system is to help the grower protect the top two leaves that contribute the most to grain yield and to avoid unnecessary fungicide application.