Alberta Barley

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Aug 2

Fall fungicides on winter wheat provide yield but don’t pay

Posted on Aug 2 By: Jeremy Boychyn MSc P.Ag.

To get the most out of our winter wheat crop, we want to provide the best start for the crop in the fall. Disease-free seed, appropriate stubble to plant into, seed treatments, appropriate seeding rates, and starter fertilizer top that list. However, will a fall season fungicide help the winter survivability of the wheat crop and increase yield? 

In short, yes. Research conducted in nine locations (Table 1) across the three prairie provinces by Drs. Turkington, Beres, Johnson, O’Donovan, Harker and other researchers showed a significant increase in grain yield, and decrease in leaf disease when Proline 480 (Prothioconazole, 480 g L-1, Bayer CropScience Inc.) was applied at the 3-4 leaf stage to CDC Buteo winter wheat. However, the application did not provide enough of a yield pump to increase profits. Overall, the application decreased net revenue by nearly $10/ac (Table 2). It should also be considered that across all locations within the trial, with the exception of Beaverlodge and Brandon, June/July precipitation was often above average.

Table 1: Trial locations across western Canada

Site and Province

Soil Type

Beaverlodge, AB

Grey Wooded

Lacombe, AB


Lethbridge, AB†

Dark Brown

Medicine Hat, AB


Scott, SK

Dark Brown

Melfort, SK


Canora, SK


Indian Head, SK


Brandon, MB


† Includes dry, irrigated, and Farming Smarter sites.

What about high disease fields though? In the trials, the Lethbridge, Scott, and Melfort locations had confirmed stripe rust in the fall, but application of a foliar fungicide still did not increase profits. Keep in mind, CDC Buteo is rated susceptible to stripe rust. Compare this to newer genetics such as AAC Wildfire (resistant to stripe rust) or AAC Icefield (Moderately resistant to stripe rust), and one could expect even less of a response from a fall fungicide application.

Table 2: Yield response and net revenue of CDC Buteo to Proline 480 at the 3-4 leaf stage



Foliar Fungicide

Yield, bu/ac



Percentage of flag leaf area diseased, %



Net Revenue, $/ac



AWC is a proud funder of Dr. Rob Graf’s breeding program based at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Lethbridge research station. Dr. Graf’s program recently produced AAC Wildfire and AAC Icefield, now available to growers.

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