Establishing the Infrastructure to Develop Predictive Tools for Wheat Diseases in Kentucky

Grants and Contracts Details


This project will focus on developing predictive models for rust and leaf blotch diseases of wheat. Specific research objectives in Kentucky include: 1) Develop predictive models based on databases of past disease epidemics in the U.S.; 2) Quantify the relationship between pathogen inoculum density, disease development, and weather in small plot trials; 3) Quantify the relationships between pathogen inoculum, disease development and weather in commercial fields. Field trials will be established where wheat pathogen inoculum monitoring will include sampling of local crop residues early in the growing season and monitoring of air-borne inoculum with spore traps at each location throughout the season. Inoculum levels will be evaluated by molecular analysis at the National Agricultural Genotyping Center. On-site weather stations will be used to monitor the environment at each location. Disease levels will be quantified by visually evaluating the incidence and severity of upper leaves a minimum of 2 times per location and plots harvested to determine the impact of disease on crop yield. Expected outcomes from this project include: (1) Establish and maintain some of the best available datasets for modeling wheat diseases in the U.S.; (2) Preliminary predictive models that can be tested for deployment via cooperation with Los Alamos National Labs, and industry partners such as Measure I/O. (3) Documented relationships between pathogen inoculum density, and disease development that will enable model inputs directly accounting for pathogen presence in the disease forecasting models; (4) Observations from commercial wheat fields in Kentucky that will be used to evaluate model performance. This project is consistent with the mutual interests of the USDA-NPMTI and wheat growers. Specifically, the proposed research will lead to the development of predictive models that help wheat growers evaluate the risk of disease. As growers learn to use these tools, they will maximize the efficacy of management decisions, reduce disease-related yield losses, and help ensure that wheat remains a viable economic crop in the US.
Effective start/end date6/1/245/31/25


  • Agricultural Research Service: $40,139.00


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