Dr. William Pfender - Research Plant Pathologist
My research addresses diseases that limit seed production of cool-season grasses. The primary focus of this project is stem rust, the most serious disease constraint on seed production in perennial ryegrass and tall fescue. We are developing and testing a mathematical model that uses real-time weather data to estimate stem rust development, thereby providing information to help disease managers make optimum decisions for fungicide timing. We also are conducting research to modify this model for use with wheat stem rust.
Other objectives of the rust research include determining the effect of cultural practices on stem rust development, and identifying regions of the genome (QTL) associated with genetic resistance to stem rust in ryegrass.