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Rapid Disease Detection

National Snapshot project

National Snapshot project

As part of Bayer’s Rapid Disease Detection project in 2021, our technical managers have partnered with local farmers to track disease progression in commercial wheat fields across the UK and Ireland.

Comparison: Each grower has selected two fields, each with varieties with contrasting Septoria tritici ratings. For example, Bayer technical manager, Ella Crawford has partnered with Edward Vipond of Troston Farm, and they are comparing a crop of LG Skyscraper, with a Septoria tritici rating of 5.1 to KWS Firefly, at 6.8 just one of nine varieties with a rating above 6.5 on the RL list. Both fields were drilled on 20th October.

Yellow rust and Septoria tritici: Every sample will be tested for both Yellow Rust and Septoria tritici using qPCR analysis, which will detect the presence or absence of disease and quantify the level of each disease present. Whilst Bayer is still developing an understanding of what different levels of disease mean, these results can be compared to our data set built up over the past seven years of latent disease testing to help inform and justify fungicide decisions.

Regular sampling: Sampling started in January and will continue throughout the season until July. During January and February, samples were taken monthly and through the main part of the season from March to July, samples will be taken weekly.

Leaf layers: This project will also focus on building an understanding of disease levels in different leaf layers of the wheat plant through the season. During the early part of the season, samples are taken from the newest leaf layer. As the wheat plants start to put on growth, samples will then be taken from multiple leaf layers and tested individually building up to the top 4 leaf layers during May and June allowing us to track the progression of disease throughout the plant over time.

Every field is different: There are so many factors that affect disease pressure in wheat crops including drilling date, variety, winter weather and spring rainfall. Therefore, it is important to note that these results are not reflective of disease levels across the whole country. They simply give us a ‘snapshot’ at a moment in time from the selected 26 commercial fields across UK and Ireland.

If you would like to trial Bayer’s Rapid Disease Detection to understand disease levels on your own farm, you can Register your interest to take part here.

Live Results

June week 3 results

June Week 3 2021

Leaf layer tested: Top 3 leaf layers

Summary: Foliar diseasecontinues to build after the gains seen the previous week – June week 3 qPCR results setting a new high for the 20/21 season.

That is primarily due to unsettled conditions across much of the country but stretched application timings is also a factor – slowed leaf emergence coupled with weather interrupted T2 sprays resulting in increased leaf exposure. Septoria tritici and yellow rust is now being detected in the all-important flag leaf at some sites.

The yellow rust situation continues to fascinate. At some sites, the disease has once again stalled with ug/ul levels falling away after last week’s spike, but at others, pressure intensifies.


Septoria tritici:

Why there is no room for complacency with Septoria tritici is clear with the latest National Snapshot results.

The disease hardly registered during much of spring but is now rising sharply, resulting in a late foliar threat to wheat crops.

In Herefordshire at J P Clay Farms, Septoria tritici continues to make significant progress in the upper canopy of Extase – a ten-fold plus increase in leaves 4 and 3 at 30.710 ng/ul and 24.355 ng/ul respectively. For the first time Leaf 2 is under real pressure, harbouring 2.802 ng/ul.

Wolverine (5.3), which hasn’t been troubled of late, is also feeling some heat. The disease is now present in leaves 4,3 and 1. Despite its lower rating, levels are much reduced than those of Extase, but it is present in the flag leaf, at 0.217 ug/ul.

Close to 200 miles away and Septoria tritici is also intensifying in Insitor (6.8) and Parkin (5.5) at Ovington Hall on the Suffolk/Essex border. It isn’t in leaf 1 of either variety but is possibly heading that way if showery weather persists. Leaf 2 of Insitor is carrying 1.192 ug/ul, Parkin 0.627 ug/ul, and pressure continues to build below.

Leaf 4 of Insitor is burdened with 17.769 ug/ul, leaf 3 a fraction higher at 18.159 ug/ul. Leaf 4 of Parkin is in the high teens but leaf 3 levels much reduced. Parkin probably benefitting from a later drilling date and conditions. Slow out of the blocks, humidity hasn’t built so readily in the thinner canopy.

A few miles up the road at Troston, Suffolk, Firefly (6.8) is still troubled by Septoria tritici. The situation can be described as ‘static’ with leaf 4 pressure rising to 2.074 ug/ulbut leaf 3 falling back a little to 3.330. With its October 10th drilling date, it still perplexes CTM Ella Crawford.


Yellow rust:

The yellow rust in Insitor (5.0) at Ovington Hall has fallen back. The mini heatwave that hit much of the southeast probably helped but Ella notes that the disease is visible in susceptible varieties like Skyfall (3.0) and Kinetic (4.0) on her travels.

Where the disease is certainly visible is Greenpark, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath. Bennington (4.0) is taking an absolute battering with leaf 1 infection now a startling 34.351 ug/ul. At the turn of the month the disease could only be found in leaf 4, and then just 1.230 ug/ul.

Surprisingly, CTM James Byrne isn’t surprised. Given its susceptibility and the recent weather, he feels the inevitable has occurred. “The weather has been fair for Co. Meath but despite blue skies, temperatures have remained a little cool. Most days have been around 14 – 18 °C, ideal conditions for the disease.”

How ideal those conditions have been is that the disease is also in Conross (8.0). It is lower in the canopy, and intensity, with leaf 3 carrying 14.353 ug/ul, but still notable given its rating.

Moving further south and at Balyraggert, Co. Kilkenny, yellow rust is also in Graham (7.0) and Costello (8.0). Leaf 1 infection is low at 0.237 ug/ul and 0,642 ug/ul respectively but perhaps further evidence that the disease is no longer ‘occasional’ and limited to weak varieties.

James still considers Septoria tritici as the primary disease trait growers need to look for but says those bordering the Irish Sea need to think carefully about selecting prone yellow rust varieties.



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 To download as PDF click here.

June week 2 results

June Week 2 2021

Leaf layer tested: Top 3 leaf layers

Summary: It is no longer quiet on the disease front. As we move towards the middle of June and the Summer Solstice disease levels have built significantly from the turn of the month.

The picture is pretty consistent across the country, rising levels of both Septoria tritici and yellow rust, with the flag leaf under pressure at some sites.

Variable crop development also remains with crops at GS45 – 65 depending upon site and variety.


Septoria tritici:

In Herefordshire, Septoria tritici continues to move up the canopy. The disease is now in leaf 2 of Extase (8.0) - at 0.422 ng/ isn’t severe but pressure is mounting below it. Levels in leaf 4 currently stand at 3.042 ng/ul, leaf 3, 1.863 ug/ul – a significant lift from the start of the month.

At Mount Farm, Penryn, Cornwall, the disease is also in leaf 2 of Graham (6.8). Again, it isn’t severe – 1.178 ug/ul. But as at Herefordshire, pressure is building below. Leaf 4 Septoria tritici levels increasing to 5.765 ug/ul, leaf 3 a little lower at 1.702.

Up the road at Pencoose Farm Extase isn’t under the same pressure. Until now there hasn’t been much between the two varieties but with Cornwall seeing wet weather spread into June differences are appearing. With both varieties drilled on the same day in September variety resilience is the likely factor.

Many eastern counties have enjoyed the best of the weather this month, but even here Septoria tritici is picking up..

At Troston Farms, Suffolk, leaf 2 is still clean in Firefly (6.8) and Skyscraper (5.1) but both varieties carry high levels of the disease in leaf 4. At 4.708 ng/ul and 2.357 ng/ul respectively it is quite a jump from the turn of the month. Skyscraper also has infection in leaf 3 of 1.759 ng/ul, probably a reflection of its susceptibility.

CTM Ella Crawford is a little perplexed by the high levels of the disease in Firefly, which she notes has been seen elsewhere.

On the Suffolk/Essex border another resilient variety is also under pressure. At Ovington Hall, Insitor (6.8) is burdened with 1.892 ng/ul on leaf 4 and 1.076 on leaf 3. Parkin (5.5) is carrying the disease on leaf 4, the leaves above it thankfully clean.

Ella thinks the results at Ovington Hall reflect drilling data and conditions. “Insitor was drilled in September and has been thick and forward all season. The thicker canopy has probably created a more favourable microclimate. Parkin was drilled a month later into a poorer seedbed and established slowly, suggesting the drilling date was more of a factor than resistance score here.”


Yellow rust:

It isn’t just Septoria tritici that is present at Ovington Hall. Despite Insitor’s (5.0) susceptibility there’s been little evidence of yellow rust to date, but that is changing fast.

Reports of yellow rust breaking out in fields is reflected in the latest Ovington Hall results. Insitor leaf 4 infection stands at 3.480 ng/ul, quite a rise given the disease wasn’t detected during May or the first week of June. 

In the far south the disease is also present in Extase at Malshanger Estate, Hampshire. Pressure isn’t significant, just 0.527 ng/ul. However, Fusarium and Septoria tritici are the primary targets for farm manager Ian Margettes, so his wheat at area is getting Prosaro (prothioconazole + tebuconazole) as a final spray.

But nowhere is the change as dramatic as Scoughall Farm, Lothian. The disease has jumped with worryingly levels in leaves 2 and 1 of Insitor. Leaf 1 carries, 2.209 ng/ul, leaf 2 ten times that at 22.318 ng/ul. Again, until now the disease has barely registered.

CTM Craig Simpson isn’t so surprised with the late upsurge given Insitor’s susceptibility and ideal weather conditions. But weather compromised T2 sprays are a factor with leaf 2 under protected.


To download as a PDF click here.


 To download as PDF click here.

June week 1 results

June Week 1 2021

Leaf layer tested: Top 3 leaf layers

Summary: It is still quiet on the disease front with low levels of disease in treated crops. Leaf 3 has light infection at most sites but leaves 2 and 1 remain disease free. 

But disease levels in untreated trial plots are moving. Septoria tritici levels on leaf 4 have increased ten-fold at one site. With yellow rust the contrast is even greater.

The contrast in development seen between varieties and drilling date is just as pronounced.

Now into June day length and warmer weather should have seen crops catch up. However, October drilled Saki and Skyscraper at Hinton Waldrist, Oxon are both at GS39, a little further west at Pencoose Farm, Cornwall and September drilled Extase is still ‘romping on’ at GS60-65.


Septoria tritici:

With blazing June staring off that way there is still no great change in pressure at any of our National Snapshot farm sites.

At Long Sutton, the infection found on leaf 2 at the end of May in Graham (6.8) has evaporated although leaf 4 is still carrying similar levels of disease - 0.212 pg/ul. Skyscraper is in similar shape, leaves 3, 2 and 1 all clean and just 0.224 pg/ul on leaf 4.

Out to the west and it is a similar picture. At J P Clay Farms, Fawley, Herefordshire, Septoria tritici is now in leaf 3 of September drilled Extase (8.0) but at just 0.203 pg/ul it isn’t a concern. Leaf 4 levels aren’t worrying either – just 0.377 pg/ul.

A bit of a jump has occurred since the end of May with susceptible Kerrin (4.8) at R H Mason, Wold Newton, East Riding. Despite an October drilling date, leaf 4 infection stands at 2.981 pg/ul, leaf 3 lower at 0.951 pg/ul.

But that is low compared to the shift in untreated trial plots. At Old Weston, Cambridgeshire, farmer Russell McKenzie and CTM ben Giles have a number of varieties in disease control trials.

While the threat to the upper canopy in treated crops is low, infection levels in leaf 4 of Saki (6.5) are not high, but at 5.041 pg/ul higher than expected given the dry season. A week earlier as May closed leaf 4 infection was just 0.543 pg/ul.

Skyscraper (5.1) is faring a little better. Current leaf 4 infection is 2.807 pg/ul – however test results for the last week of May were 0. Both also have the disease in leaf 3 – but at lower levels. It will be interesting to see the yield variation between treated and untreated plots when Russell McKenzie and Ben Giles take to harvesting them.


Yellow rust:

The question of yellow rust susceptibility and varietal ratings is again evident this week.

At World Malshanger Estates, Hampshire, leaf 2 of Skyfall (3.0) is currently holding 0.360 pg/ul. Close to 400 miles further north at Scoughall Farm, East Lothian, leaf 2 of Elation (8.0) is under more pressure – 1.586 pg/ul. CTM Craig Simpson says with leaf 2 out for some time, and a series of cooling sea haars he isn’t surprised. It isn’t significant but a possible sign of a shift in disease pressure.

A further sign of a shift in disease pressure is untreated trial plot results. Back to Old Weston, Cambridgeshire, and yellow rust has moved on significantly since the end of May. Then, highest infection levels were found in leaf 4 of Skyscraper, at 2.094 pg/ul.

But Skyscraper is now in the red category. Current leaf 4 infection is 15,821 pg/ul and previously clean leaf 3 holds 4.469 pg/ul. Saki (8.0) is also coming under pressure, leaf 4 carrying 1.137 pg/ul.

Ben and Russell await June 2 results with interest.


To download as a PDF click here.


 To download as PDF click here.

Previous months results

May results

The change in the weather has seen a change in Septoria tritici fortunes. In the last week of April, Septoria was present in Leaf 5 at just three sites. One week later and the disease is present in leaf 5 or 4 at all sites, except two. No infection has been detected in leaf 3 at any site, but this could be just a matter of time with further unsettled weather forecast. With the all-important T2 spray approaching making the right fungicide choices is vitally important. With variable crop development, an unsettled forecast and ranging T1 timings the value of Rapid Disease Detection is likely to come to the fore.
Find out more

April Results

Prior to the rain arriving at the end of April, Septoria was detected on Leaf 5 at three of our sites, whilst leaf 4 remains clean of disease at all sites. Levels are currently not concerning but the results highlight the risk Septoria tritici presents and the need to not let our eye off the ball despite prolonged cool, dry weather.
Find out more

March results

Despite reports of yellow rust symptoms in some varieties, there are still no positive results of yellow rust in new leaf layers. Septoria tritici is also restricted to the base of plants, with only a handful of positive results, and these being September drilled susceptible varieties.
Find out more

February results

New results from Ireland and Scotland adds to the National Snapshot view of disease pressure. Low levels of Septoria tritici are been detected at more locations across the country, including in East Anglia. Meanwhile, there is still no yellow rust detected via the project so far this season.
Find out more

January results

The first results of the season are in! Low levels of Septoria tritici has been detected at six sites including two crops of KWS Extase whilst no yellow rust has been detected in any of the fields tested.
Find out more

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