Experts are urging cereal growers not to panic despite early signs of yellow rust being found in early-sown winter wheat crops.

The mild autumn coupled with disease carryover from the summer has resulted in early symptoms of yellow rust showing, even on varieties with good resistance.

Niab Tag cereal pathologist Sarah Holdgate says the resistance in the adult plants means they are able to outgrow the disease at later growth stages.

Help monitor yellow rust

Niab Tag are asking growers with substantial amounts of yellow rust in their crops to send in samples of the infected leaves as part of the UK Cereal Pathogen Virulence Survey (UKCPVS)

However, she does warn that yellow rust being found in more susceptible varieties could carry over into the spring and become more difficult to control.

“Very cold winter conditions can slow the disease, but unless the infected leaf is actually killed, the fungus will survive through to the spring,” she says

Niab Tag commercial technical manager Bill Clark says early reports of yellow rust were also seen in 2013 and should be expected following the high levels experienced last season.

He points out while more susceptible varieties face a greater risk from early infections, an autumn fungicide spray is unlikely to be necessary.

“Spraying against yellow rust in the autumn is rarely needed except in exceptional circumstances – normally the rust can be tackled in the early spring,” he says.

Learn more about yellow rust