Snow Mold Could Affect This Year’s Winter Wheat Crop


Speckled snow mold (left) and pink snow mold (right).
Credit: smallgrains.wsu.edu

Snow mold can be a dramatic and devastating plant disease. In the Pacific Northwest (PNW), snow molds are important in areas where snow falls on unfrozen or lightly frozen soil and persists for 100 days or more. Four different snow mold diseases, all caused by soil-borne fungi, occur in the PNW: pink snow mold, speckled snow mold, snow scald, and snow rot. Pink snow mold is the most widespread of these diseases, occurring on wild grasses, lawns, and winter wheat throughout the PNW. On wheat, however, pink snow mold is less destructive than speckled snow mold. Snow scald and snow rot are limited in distribution and their overall impact on winter wheat production is minimal.

Snow mold diseases destroy the leaves and crowns of host grasses under snow. Following snowmelt, the leaves of plants with speckled snow mold are matted to the soil and covered with a whitish gray fungal growth. The fungal growth disappears after a few days of dry, sunny weather, and numerous dark-colored bodies the size of radish seeds known as sclerotia become visible over the surface of infected plants. Depending on the specific fungi, some sclerotia are round and dark brown to black in color, while others are irregularly shaped and reddish brown, occurring primarily on roots and between sheaths in the crown.

Immediately following snowmelt, plants with pink snow mold have a whitish fungal growth covering the leaves. The fungal growth soon turns a characteristic salmon color, resulting in the name “pink” snow mold (Fig. 3). Leaves and leaf sheaths with pink snow mold remain intact and turn a light to dark brown color, as opposed to the disintegration that occurs with speckled snow mold. Disease severity ranges from relatively small lesions on leaves to complete destruction of the foliage and dead plants.

Development of snow mold is favored by rain during the autumn and snow falling on unfrozen or lightly frozen soil that persists for approximately 100 days or more. Deep snow cover insulates plants and soil, maintaining temperatures close to 32° F with relative humidity near saturation, both of which are favorable to growth of these fungi. Deep snow also ensures contact between leaves and soil, thus allowing an entry point for the fungi, while at the same time preventing photosynthesis, which is thought to make plants more susceptible to infection due to a depletion of carbohydrates in the crown. Frozen soil, intermittent snow cover, or less persistent snow cover reduce the severity of snow mold.

The fungi causing speckled snow mold survive between crops as sclerotia in soil and infested host debris. Germination of sclerotia and infection of plants begin within one month after snowfall and continue as long as snow cover persists. Invasion of crowns and death of plants occur after about three months of snow cover; consequently, damage from speckled snow mold increases with longer snow cover.

The fungus causing pink snow mold survives between crops primarily in residue from previously infected plants. Infection of leaves occurs during cool, wet weather in the fall before and after snowfall. Fungal filaments growing from infested residue near the soil surface penetrate leaves and continue to grow in infected plants as long as the snow persists.

As the snow cover retreats and damage from snow mold becomes evident, the decision of whether or not to replant is difficult for growers. The wheat will look very bad as the snow melts and may even look worse for the first few days after the snow is gone. Cold conditions after snowmelt can further weaken the wheat plants. Warm conditions hasten the decomposition of the badly affected leaves. It takes two to three weeks for the stressed plants to show signs of recovery.

Severe snow mold years are generally good moisture years. The season is delayed, warming up later than usual, hence the long snow cover. Wait two weeks after the snow has left most of the field, then carefully survey the field. Small patches of dead wheat may not be worth replanting. Large acreage may require further consideration.

  • If the wheat is totally dead, then the replant decision is a little easier. There should be good moisture and fertilizer remaining in the field, although starter fertilizer may help as last year’s fertilizer may have leached a foot or two through the soil profile.
  • If there are more than eight plants per square foot on average, it may not pay to replant.
  • Four to eight plants per square foot require careful consideration. How soon can you work the field? What does the long-term weather look like, and how well does spring wheat normally yield in the field? What seed can you get? What price will wheat bring? Then comes the balancing act. Will the reduced yield from the damaged winter wheat cover the costs already invested in the field? Or will the costs of replanting and the expected increased harvest bring a better bottom line?

Excerpted from “Snow Mold Diseases of Winter Wheat in Washington,” WSU EB1880, by Timothy Murray, Stephen Jones, and Ed Adams. For more information, or to download the document, go to http://tinyurl.com/PNWsnowmold.

 

Spring classes on forestry, pruning, gardening, mushrooms & more!

hightunnel
From feeding hens to saving seeds, mushrooming to building a hoophouse, you can find something of interest in Boundary County Extension’s spring schedule of classes! Family and consumer science courses include gluten-free cooking, meals in a jar, understanding your credit score, and weight training for women.

A free class on pruning your fruit trees will be offered on Monday, March 6, from 1pm – 4pm. An in-depth seed saving class will be presented on Friday, March 24th, from 2-4pm. Learn more about what to feed your backyard laying hens to maximize productivity and extend their lifespan on Wednesday, March 15, from 2-4pm.

Most classes are offered at the Boundary County Extension Office, 6447 Kootenai St., Bonners Ferry, ID. Call 208-267-3235 to register for classes or for more information. Class sizes are limited, so call now to reserve your space.

Forestry classes include a class on computer mapping for forest owners and other landowners on Friday, March 3, from 9am – 12pm, followed by a class on forestry “apps” from 1pm-4pm.

On Friday, April 21, from 8-10am, a class on the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service’s hoophouse initiative will discuss the financial assistance available for constructing a seasonal high tunnel and how the application process works for the EQIP program. A tour of a hoop house in production in Boundary County will also be available for those who are interested.

Organic Pest & Disease Management for Orchards

Join the WSU Extension Tree Fruit Team on March 14th & 15th for an Organic Pest and Disease Management Fruit School. This event will delve deep into the ecology, biology and tools for successful organic orchard pest and disease management with presentations, discussions, hands-on activities and demonstrations. The Fruit School focuses on organic practices, but will be applicable to any orchard using integrated control approaches.
The 2-day event is co-located at Wenatchee, WA (primary), Prosser, WA (satellite), and Omak, WA (satellite). All locations will have WSU Extension hosts present on-site. You will be asked to select the site location where you will be attending when you register. If there are no remaining seats at your desired location, you will need to select and attend at a different meeting site with openings. Register early to avoid this.
Pesticide update credits will be awarded for program attendance.
Visit Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center’s Website for more information and to register for this event.

Learn how to do artificial insemination in cattle

bull

A three-day artificial insemination (AI) course will be held March 15-17 at the University of Idaho Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension & Education Center near Salmon, ID. Educators from University of Idaho and Select Sires are working together to bring this training to Idaho. For more information and to reserve your seat, contact Dr. John Hall, 208-756-2749 or jbhall@uidaho.edu. Space is limited!

Beekeeping Resources and Classes

Beekeeping with Blooming Apple Trees in Background

A beginning beekeeping course consisting of three hands-on classes followed by five field days will be offered through the Deer Park-based Backyard Beekeepers Association. The classes will be held three consecutive Saturdays, March 11, 18 and 25, from 9am to 1pm, at the Deer Park Senior Center, 316 E. Crawford Ave., Deer Park, WA 99006, followed by 5 field days in April, May, July and August. The course costs $30, which is an excellent value. You can register online on their website, Backyard Beekeepers Association.

The Ohio State Beekeepers Training Program includes 34 video segments and 3 powerpoint presentations, based on the on-line text book Backyard Beekeeping, by Dr. James E. Tew. Both the book and the training program are free.

Another free beekeeping program is available at the PerfectBee. This is a commerical site that sells beekeeping supplies; nevertheless they do have a free introductory beekeeping class.

2017 Cereal School topics include low falling numbers, variety trial results, updates on pests and diseases

Kootenai Valley
Each year, the Idaho Grain Producers Association, the Idaho Barley Commission, and the University of Idaho sponsor “cereal schools” across Idaho.  These educational workshops provide an opportunity for producers to learn about issues in their region, including insect issues, disease updates, variety trials, weed control, economics, markets, and other important issues. This year’s school in Bonners Ferry included a presentation on low falling numbers, the worldwide supply and demand situation and other factors affecting current low grain prices, and a presentation by a nutritionist on maximizing nutrient intake from grains as well as common wheat misconceptions. A selection of presentations from this year’s event, held Wednesday, Jan. 25 at the Boundary County Fairgrounds, are available at the links below. Additional references from these presentations are also included linked below.

Kelly Olson, from the Idaho Barley Commission, provides an update on current issues and markets.

Results from the Boundary County Variety Trials are presented, as well as a discussion of low falling numbers (LFN). What is LFN, and how is it calculated? Which varieties were most severely affected?

This presentation covers pesticides for canola, including a discussion of current chemical control options for weeds, diseases, and insects, and discusses threshold levels for spraying. Part 1  Part 2

Current worldwide and U.S. market conditions are discussed in this presentation. In addition, costs and returns estimates for 2016 are compared to a 2011-2015 baseline.

Idaho Barley Commission’s website includes links to the current grain market report as well as upcoming programs throughout the state.

Information from UI Extension on North Idaho cereals, including variety trials and stripe rust, is available here.

Information on the UI Brassica Breeding Program can be found here.

Farm Enterprise Budgets for the 2011-2015 Baseline as well as 2016 Direct Seed Budgets are available here.

 

Beef School on Sat., Feb. 4, in Ponderay

grazing-cattle1

The Bonner-Boundary Cattle Association (BBCA) is pleased to announce the 2017 AG Seminar-Beef School on Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Sandpoint Elks, which is located just north of Sandpoint on Highway 200 E in Ponderay.  This year’s topics include: Cow Size & Environment vs Feed Efficiency & Profitability; Using the New Breed EPD Profitability Indexes; Cattle Mineral Supplementation; and Easy To Use Computer-Based Cow Record Programs.  You can download the  program brochure here.

The event is jointly sponsored by the Bonner-Boundary Cattle Association, and University of Idaho Extension, with the financial help of numerous local businesses (please see the list of these businesses in the brochure).  You must pre-register so that we can make adequate preparations. There is a $15 registration fee.  Refreshments and lunch are included.  Please call Jack Filipowski at 263-7264 or email jack@fernridgeranch.com   by January 30th to pre-register.

Attendance is open to BBCA members and to the interested public.  We do encourage those of you who are involved in the cattle business and who are not currently BBCA members to consider joining us.  We can all benefit by your support and participation. Membership dues is used to provide 4-H and FFA support at the Bonner and Boundary County Fairs. Dues ($20) are assessed on a calendar year basis, payable at the beginning of each year. We also co-sponsor with the Cattle Women a $1000 college scholarship to a student with agricultural interests, provide assistance to members in need, and support other Ag based community activities.

The Bonner-Boundary Cattle Association is an independent non-political producer organization chartered as a nonprofit corporation in the State of Idaho.  The BBCA carries out education programs providing its members with information designed to promote effective cattle and land management and timely knowledge of local, state, and national public policy issues affecting the industry.  We conduct a public relations program to promote and increase public awareness of the beef industry by contributing to and participating in local community events. The association works for the common interest of its members and promotes a spirit of public responsibility within the cattle industry.