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ARS Home » Crop Production and Protection » Research » Research Project #445583

Research Project: Establishing the Infrastructure for Disease Prediction Tools to Manage Foliar Diseases in Wheat and Root Rot in Pulse Crops

Location: Crop Production and Protection

Project Number: 0500-00102-001-032-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2024
End Date: May 31, 2025

The overall project goal is to develop predictive tools from standardized and validated datasets to guide grower decisions targeting foliar diseases of wheat and root rot in pulses.

The project goals for wheat are conducted in three objectives: 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 manipulated small plot trials; and 3) Quantify associations among pathogen inoculum density, disease development, and weather variables in winter wheat breeding nurseries. To achieve these objectives for wheat, research will focus on the wheat rust triplex, predominantly stripe rust, as well as the leaf blotch diseases tan spot, Stagonospora nodorum blotch, and Septoria tritici blotch. For objective 1, curated disease observations will be coupled with weather and cropping system data into a database to establish hypotheses about the biological processes driving disease epidemics based on research literature and the experience of regional wheat disease experts. Preliminary models of disease risk based on historical observations of epidemics will be developed. These models will become the foundation of the wheat predictive effort. For objective 2, experiment will be conducted in dryland winter wheat in established plots north of Bozeman, MT, following standard management practices. Wheat stubble will be collected in the spring and samples will be sent to a cooperator for DNA extraction and qPCR analysis for identification. Cyclone and rotorod-type spore samplers will be deployed in each block to sample for airborne spores. Collected spore samples will be sent to a cooperator for DNA extraction and qPCR analysis for identification. Plots will be visually inspected and rated weekly for disease. For objective 3, sampling methods and data collection for winter wheat breeding nurseries will largely follow the methods described under Obj. 2. The project goals for pulses are conducted in three objectives: 1) Develop soil sampling methodologies for reliable detection of root rot pathogens; 2) Monitor commercial fields for soilborne inoculum, weather, and crop yield to quantify the economic impact of root rot disease; and 3) Develop a multipronged Extension and outreach approach to improve root rot management in pulse crops and facilitate the adoption of the root rot risk prediction model. For objectives 1 and 2, ten fields will be identified that have a history of root rot disease and will be planted to pulse crops. Historic and current metadata will be collected for each field for the last 15 years. Soil samples will occur at three timepoints through the growing season and sent to a cooperator for pathogen identification. Disease assessment will be conducted at the in-season sampling time point and rated for root rot using established rating systems. Greenhouse bioassays will be conducted on composite soil samples from each target area. Dry pea will be planted in the soil and seedling emergence will be counted and removed after 6 weeks to evaluate for disease and pathogens will be identified by qPCR. For objective 3, At least one grower-focused outreach event on root rot risk and management will be hosted, using a shop talk-style format to facilitate discussion and information exchange.