Notes submitted by R. Johnston.


The WCC97 meeting convened at 8:30 am on Thursday July 16, 1998 in Fargo, ND. Local arrangements were handled by Brian Steffenson of North Dakota State University. The morning and early afternoon session was spent in discussion and the late afternoon was allotted to a tour of the NDSU facilities. There were 27 individuals in attendance. The group was welcomed by Dr. Jim Vanette acting dept head of NDSU.


Administrative business:

The meeting site was chosen to be at Bozeman in July of 1999.


State Reports: Listed in the order presented


North Dakota - Report given by Brian Steffenson -

Historically North Dakota has been #1 in barley production in the US with 2-3 million acres and also #1 in both spring wheat and durum wheat production. During the 1997-98 growing season, the acreage of barley has fallen by 17% due to scab infection and low prices. Spring wheat production is off 24% due to the same factors. In contrast, durum production is up 4%. Durum is susceptible to scab, but a selling price of $7 a bushel has lead to increased acreage.

ND Barley Project - Scab has resulted in a 4.3 billion dollar yield loss over the 1993-1997 time span, when both direct and indirect factors are included. Direct yield losses total 1.2 billion dollars with 2/3 of the loss based in North Dakota and Minnesota. Scab is present from the Carolinas up through North Dakota and into Canada. Malt barley has been heavily hit by scab and many farmers have gone out of business due to high levels of DON in the seed. DON levels above 2PPM present feeding problems for pigs and levels below 0.5% are necessary for malt production. Scab infections can also result in "gushing beer".

Factors affecting the scab epidemic:

Weather patterns have changed over the last 5 years and much rain now falls at heading during June and July.

Inoculum is abundant due to Minimum till, overwintering on stubble and the fact that corn is present in the rotation scheme.

Managing scab:

Breeding for resistance: Complex genetics are involved with over 40 traits influencing both resistance and malt quality.

Disease assessment in adult plants.

High labor costs and large time requirements. The organism must be identified by plating on nutrient media.

Replicate plots are required with addition of inoculum and water for infection.

Usually harvest 10-20 heads at random to determine infected/total kernels for a % infection figure.

More than one Fusarium species on barley. Fusarium graminearum is the primary casual agent and usually is involved in 95% of the scab infections.

Fusarium can grow as a saprophyte in swaths.

Assay of seed is routinely done for mycotoxins and gushing potential. DON levels are determined by Gas Chromatograph which cost 8-25 dollars per sample. DON levels are associated but not responsible for beer gushing. Barley prices are discounted based on DON levels. If DON levels are excessive, malt quality seed may be downgraded to feed barley. Healthy appearing barley can have DON levels of 3ppm, well above the maximum level specified for malting. Prior to 1993 DON testing was optional, however, the tests are now mandatory and some may even be done at the elevator by ELISA.

Fusarium can develop in storage at moisture levels above 12% and DON levels may also increase. Over time, the Fusarium infection may decrease in storage, but DON levels are stable for 2 years or more.

Report given by Lynn Franzel.

In North Dakota there are three pathologists which spend 25% of their time on scab.

Durum production has moved 200 miles to the west to get away from the areas of severe scab. Durum production is down from a high of 13 million acres to less than 10 million this year.

The loss of acres is compensated by increases in soybean, sunflowers, canola and corn production. Growing corn compounds the scab problem since most growers are using a minimum tillage system.

Folicure is being applied for scab control. However the PHI is 30 days and the efficacy is 50-75% at best. It does help control tanspot and Septoria as well. In 1998 >50% of acres in Minnesota have been sprayed. A section 18 permit has been granted for Tilt application in North Dakota and Minnesota.

As far as scab is concerned:

Tight compact heads show some resistance compared to open heads.

Presence of awns has no effect on disease levels.

1998 wheat crop is estimated to have 5% scab infection

1998 barley crop is estimated to have 25-50% scab infection - increase is due to timing of heading. 1% infection in barley will change malt quality barley to feed barley, which will usually have about 3-7 PPM DON toxin.


Minnesota -Report given by Ruth Dill-Macky

Scab infection in wheat is not as bad as previously thought. The hot weather lately has pushed the crop along and infection is estimated at 5%. Barley however shows up to 50% infection.

Much of the crop in the Red River Valley bordered by Hwy 94 and Hwy 10 have high water levels and damage to the crop from standing water is evident. An increase in tanspot and Septoria levels is occurring due to a move away from resistant cultivars to those cultivars with some resistance to scab. Resistant cultivars have reduced quality and yield. Some of the resistance in wheat is coming from Chinese materials. The resistance of these Chinese lines seems to work better in large fields compared to small plots.

Barley production is far below normal and an estimated 28% of the growers in the Red River valley have gone bankrupt.

Jim Anderson is the new spring wheat breeder for Minnesota coming from Washington.


California - Report given by Lee Jackson (submitted via Email)

Small grains in California are sown in the fall throughout most of the state and are comprised primarily of hard red spring and durum wheat and 6-row spring feed barley. Substantial spring-sown spring barley also is produced in the intermountain area of NE California (Tulelake/Klamath basin). Statewide, plantings were estimated at 490,000 acres of common wheat, 181,000 acres of durum wheat, 220,000 acres of barley, and 300,000 acres of oat (predominantly for hay). Leading varieties were hard red wheats RSI 5 (114,000 acres), Yecora Rojo (109,000 acres), Express (83,000 acres), and Brooks (68,000 acres). RSI 5 acreage in the San Joaquin Valley (about half of its total) is primarily green-chop for dairies. The expansion of durum into the San Joaquin Valley continued, where 88,000 acres, mostly the variety 'Kronos', were planted. Kronos also was the most widely planted durum in the Imperial Valley. The 1998 season was very wet and remained very cool, resulting in high levels of Septoria tritici blotch and stripe rust. Leaf rust was late to develop. With high levels of early season rainfall and saturated soil conditions, much of the crop was shallow rooted. Lodging was widespread as a result. Rainfall continued into June, causing some sprout damage to early fall-sown wheat.

Septoria tritici blotch. Continuous disease pressure from Septoria overwhelmed all cultivars and lines with previously effective resistance (Express, RSI 5, and UC, WPB, and RSI advanced lines etc.) in some locations in the Sacramento Valley. Infections were primarily Septoria tritici; I didn't detect significant levels of S. nodorum; spike infections were common, however. The disease extended much further south in the Central Valley than normal due to frequent rain showers. Cultivars in the San Joaquin Valley, such as Brooks and Yecora Rojo, with no resistance, were severely affected. Yields will be reduced significantly, but a cool grain-fill period will compensate to some degree.

Wheat stripe rust. By early May, wheat stripe rust became severe in UC Regional test plots from Chico in Butte Co. (northern Sacramento County) south to Corcoran in Kings County (San Joaquin Valley). The most susceptible lines were 100S. Some commercial plantings in the same areas had "hot spots" of severe disease, including the main cultivar in the Sacramento Valley, Express. As cool temperatures persisted through mid-May, wheat stripe rust continued to increase in Regional test and in commercial fields. One third of the lines in the 50-entry regional wheat test were fully susceptible. Six of 34 durum entries in the Regional tests also were susceptible. Spike infections were reported in commercial fields in the Sacramento and northern San Joaquin Valley, particularly of the cultivar Express. Very low yields (900 lb/acre) were reported for severely diseased Express fields in Butte Co. of the Sacramento Valley. New strains (combinations of virulences) of stripe rust have become established. The source of the new strains of stripe rust may have been the cultivar Express. In 1996, numerous infection foci occurred in Express fields in the Sacramento Valley, although the infection type was resistant (very little sporulation detected). In 1997, infection foci could be found in most Express fields observed. Express was not significantly damaged by the rust in 1997, but several other cultivars were, including UC 1041, Colusa, and several advanced lines from Resource Seeds, Inc. This season (1998), increased levels of sporulation were observed on Express and other cultivars. Express accounts for about 40% of the wheat acreage in the Sacramento and northern San Joaquin Valley this year.

Barley stripe rust. Barley stripe rust was later occurring this season than the previous two seasons, but did reach levels of 100S in plots. A Section 18 for Folicur was approved in May, too late for use on fall-sown barley. It may benefit spring-sown barley in the Tulelake basin, however. Yield losses of commercial fall-sown barley were in the range of 10-20% because of the later occurrence of stripe rust and absence of the more susceptible cultivars (no longer grown). Resistance of our proposed new cultivar for fall-sowing in the Central Valley and neighboring rainfed areas, UC 937, held up well. Growers were pleased with its performance in several 10-acre blocks (pre-release seed was provided to them). The USDA 1997 Cooperative barley stripe rust trial (in cooperation with D. Wesenberg) was sown at UC Davis in the fall (1500 rows were sown). Stripe rust appeared in early May, reaching 100S on many entries. Detailed assessments were made on two dates (early and late May). Conditions for screeening were excellent. In addition to stripe rust, severe infections of scald, net blotch, leaf rust, and BYD, were noted for entries on which they occurred.

Black-tip. The combination of early sowing, shallow rooting, lodging and late season rainfall resulted in high levels of black-tip on durum wheat in the San Joaquin valley. Loads of durum wheat were rejected by Miller Milling in Fresno because of black-tip levels (not sure of tolerance level).

Rice blast (info from Bob Webster). Rice blast affected 70,000 acres of rice in California last season. Some fields lost about 50% of their yield. Neck blast syndrome was most important, causes low yields as well as reduced grain quality. The disease occurred because of high humidity conditions during last summer. Section 18 for Quadris was approved. One race was identified; the same as was found in Hawaii in breeding nurseries. This year: wait and see.

Corn stunt spiroplasma (info from Mike Davis). Corn stunt affected the corn crop (primarily silage corn but also significant grain acreage) last season. There was substantial yield loss, and stunting of corn from Tulare Co north to Fresno Co in the San Joaquin Valley.

Colorado - Report given by Joe Hill

Very little diseases on small grains this year. The heavy snow fall in October killed the Russian wheat aphid. Yields are projected to be 35 bu/a on dryland crops.

Jim Quick is the new department head in the Crop and Soil Science Dept. Colorado is in need of a new wheat breeder. An emphasis will be placed on development of a hard white wheat program. The hard white wheats do not yield as well as the hard red wheats and there is a need to improve both yield and quality for the export market.


Idaho -Report given by Bob Forster

Overall the crop looks good this year. There has been abundant rainfall and foliar disease problems are minor. There are some cases of scald occurring on barley as well as very low levels of barley stripe rust.

Black chaff reached a 10 year high in 1997 but very little has been seen this year.

Cephalosporium stripe was observed for the first time in SE Idaho in 1996. Speculation is that it may have been introduced by seed transmission.

Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus and High Plains disease have the same vector. Mixed infections occur in Idaho in corn but not in wheat. Seed transmission of High Plains disease is not known to occur in wheat. The virus was isolated and photographed last year. The particles have a "pearls on a string" appearance.


Kansas - Report given by Bill Bockus

Yields of winter wheat averaged 49 bu/a this year and 500 million bushels were harvested. Yields were much higher than predicted. Jager was planted on 20% of the acreage this year and Karl 92 fell from 22% to 11% of the overall acreage.

Blends of 2-3 of the top cultivars have been planted on 3% of the acreage. Growers feel that a blend may yield more than the average of the top 3 cultivars.

The only diseases seen this year are: Septoria tritici blotch, leaf rust and some scab, take-all and wheat spindle streak virus. In contrast, no Cephalosporium stripe has been seen in Kansas in the last 12 years and may be due to the intermediate level of resistance incorporated into new varieties. All new varieties also have resistance to wheat soil-borne mosaic virus and spindle streak virus. Resistance to the former is controlled by a single gene.


Montana - Report given by Don Mathre

Plant Pathology at MSU was merged with the plant scientists from Plant Soil and Environmental Sciences and 4 botanists from the Biology dept to form a new Dept of Plant Sciences. A search for a new dept head is currently underway. Most of the members of the new dept will move into the new Ag. Bioscience building when it is completed early in 1999.

Currently a test is underway to establish if overwintering of spores is possible in Montana and if so, how long they will persist in soil. Spores are being incubated outdoors in 3 soils types and at varying depths at Bozeman. Karnal bunt spores have the ability to overwinter in soil at least one year in Montana.

The durum wheats are capturing a larger share of the Montana acreage. A new durum plant for production of pasta has been built at Great Falls, MT. Establishment of uniform durum stands has been a problem within the state and early research indicates that treatment of the seed with apron containing fungicides can increase emergence from 30% to 90%.

Bill Grey - spent time discussing the role of a new project he is involved in which uses the global positioning system to help map the location of insect pests, weeds and plant diseases within a field. The current goal is to relate these factors to effects on yield and protein levels of the harvested crop. Bill also discussed the role of a new SARE project within the state which will investigate the use of alternate crops (lentils, chickpeas, mustards) which will give growers more flexibility than does the traditional wheat/fallow system does.

Bob Johnston - The new web page for WCC97 in now active. The address is


In addition a new list server has been placed online to help with the exchange of information between interested members. Bob agreed to modify the list of subscribed members to include the current participants. This has been done. If you have not received a notification that you have subscribed to the service, the instructions to do so can be found at the web site.


Oregon - Report given by Chris Mundt

Barley yellow dwarf virus was severe this year due to high aphid populations. There is no resistance breeding at present to control this disease.

There is some eyespot but for the most part it is controlled by the VPM gene in Madson. Losses should be slight.

In eastern Oregon, Cephalosporium stripe is the number one disease problem with up to 50% white heads in some susceptible cultivars. There is some resistance to Cephalosporium, but not to Septoria tritici which gets worse every year.

In the Willamette valley, yields are 40%of expected due to high levels of BYD and sharp eye spot cause by Rhizoctonia. BYD virus may weaken the plant and make it more susceptible to Rhizoctonia.

Barley stripe rust has caused a 15% yield loss in some areas. Steptoe is moderate to susceptible in reaction, Russell is susceptible and Baronesse has some resistance. Pat Hays has transferred resistance to stripe rust into a Steptoe background and called the new cultivar Tango.


South Dakota - Report given by Yue Jin

There are 1.2 million acres of winter wheat in South Dakota - mostly west of the Missouri river. Spring wheat is mostly east of the river. Spring wheat is moving toward the west and south due to moisture availability. Winter wheat is planted into spring wheat stubble which has led to leaf spot problems. In addition, winter wheat has moved to the east somewhat and is rotated with corn. This has led to increased problems with scab.

Most growers are planting the most scab resistant cultivars available. Most of these cultivars are susceptible to other diseases present in the state such as leaf and stem rust.

There is a white wheat breeding program in South Dakota, but incorporation of disease resistance into new cultivars is difficult. Root rot is common in the winter wheat growing areas.

A new disease appears to have shown up and is tentatively named yellow head. It may be caused by a virus. Infected plants are uniformly yellow and may be taller than normal with shiny yellow heads. The plants are not sterile and will set seed. Infection levels can reach 3-5% in some fields.

Barley crown rust has been observed in some nurseries and may infect up to 60% of the entries. In addition, crown rust and stem rust is a problem on oats.


Washington - Report given by Tim Murray (submitted via Email)

Acreage estimates.

Winter wheat - 2.1 million acres (same as 1997) at 69 bu/ac (+2 bu)

Spring wheat - 465,000 acres (+20,000 ac over 1997) at 48 bu/ac (-6bu)

Spring barley - 520,000 acres (+30,000 ac) at 65 bu/ac (-11 bu)

Oats – 15,000 acres (-2,000 ac) at 85 bu/ac (+5 bu)

Growing Condition.

Fall '97. Seedbed moisture was good in most parts of the state and seeding and emergence were timely. Seeding in some areas was about 7-10 days earlier than normal.

Snow cover in the northern wheat growing areas of the state did not persist for more than 100 days in most areas. Timely snow cover and moderate temperatures resulted in good winter survival throughout the state.

Spring '98. Weather has been mixed with early warm, dry conditions followed by cooler and wetter conditions. Rainfall is running slightly ahead of long-term averages in most areas. Seeding and emergence of spring grain were good in most areas. Recent severe thunderstorms have destroyed some fields of wheat that were nearly ready for harvest.

Disease problems.

Eyespot is prevalent is most areas, especially the intermediate and low rainfall areas where resistant varieties are not grown. Disease outbreak is due to abundant early rainfall and an open winter, which provided a prolonged infection period and allowed the disease to develop throughout the winter. Many fields were sprayed with fungicide. Use of the eyespot-resistant variety Madsen in the higher rainfall areas reduced disease potential and few fields were sprayed with fungicide.

Cephalosporium stripe is widespread, but is not severe in most areas. In general, losses are expected to be relatively minor where highly susceptible varieties are not grown.

Pink snow mold was common following snowmelt, however, speckled snow mold was not prevalent, even though snow cover persisted for 100 days. Damage due to snow mold should be minimal due to the widespread growth of Eltan winter wheat, which is moderately resistant. Edwin is a new snow mold-resistant variety that will be released next year for foundation seed. It is intended as a replacement for Moro in the intermediate and low-rainfall areas.

Stripe and Leaf rust are both present, however stripe rust is very widespread in the state and will likely cause significant damage. Several soft white common varieties including WB470, Quantum Hybrid1019, and Brundage, and most of the club and hard red wheat varieties had significant stripe rust. Leaf rust is developing some areas, but is probably too late to cause much damage.

Physiological leaf spot is not widespread this year, probably because many growers are applying chloride for its control.

Barley yellow dwarf is widespread in early seeded fields in the intermediate and low-rainfall areas and damage is expected to be significant in many fields.


Tobin Peever has joined the faculty as a Fungal Geneticist. He began work July 1.


It was suggested that the 1999 meeting last for a full two days to allow additional time for discussion of important topics.

The meeting was adjourned in mid-afternoon and the group toured the research facilities at North Dakota State University.

The group met again on Friday morning, July 17 for a tour of the off-station scab nursery, the Bush barley breeding plots and finally the barley and wheat epidemiology plots on the NDSU campus.

The meeting was adjourned at noon.


After lunch interested members attended a 2 hour scab seminar presented by Dr. Akos Mesterhazy.


1998 Attendance list

1. Don Mathre Montana State University
2. Lee Jackson Univ. of California-Davis
3. Roland Line USDA-ARS Pullman, WA
4. Christ Mundt Oregon State University
5. Bill Bockus Kansas State University
6. Mark Davis Kansas State University
7. Yue Jin South Dakota St. Univ
8. Greg Fox Western Plant Breeders  
9. Bill Brown Colorado St. Univ.
10.Joe Hill Colorado St. Univ
11.Jolanta Menert Busch Ag Resources
12.Bob Forster Univ. of Idaho
13.Tim Murray Wash. St. Univ
14.Ruth Dill-Macky Univ. of Minnesota
15.Bob Johnston Montana State University
16.Bill Grey Montana State University
17.Len Francl North Dakota St. Univ
18.Brian Steffenson North Dak St. Univ.
19.Tom Fetch, Jr. North Dak. St. Univ.
20.Joe Krupinsky USDA, Mandan, ND
21.Shaobin Ahung North Dak. St. Univ
22. Douglas Collins Montana State Univ.  
23. Kanat Tiourebaev Montana State Univ.  
24. Jerrapun Warapong Montana State Univ.  
25. Ivette Acuna Montana State Univ.  
26. Ruschelle Edlin Montana State Univ.  
27. Laura Carsten Montana State Univ.