Seeing Leaf Tip Burn in Your Cereal Fields?

Manitoba Agriculture’s Crop Diagnostic Lab receives several spring wheat samples over the growing season.

This post is from June 2013 where the lab had received samples showing symptoms where leaf tips are yellowing and necrotic.  Rejean Picard with Manitoba Agriculture in Somerset, submitted this photo from a field in his area.  He noted the symptoms appeared with the warmer temperatures and was evident in localized areas of several fields.

Leaf Tip Burn/Necrosis in Wheat
Photo by Rejean Picard, Manitoba Agriculture, Somerset

Mardi Desjardins, the former Crop Diagnostic Specialist, had seen similar symptoms in previous seasons when environmental conditions have caused rapid moisture loss from the leaves, i.e. windy weather combined with warm/hot temperatures.   The result is leaf tip burn or necrosis.

Wind and/or high temperature can result in injury of leaf tips of small grains
Credit: Photo Library of Manitoba Agriculture’s Crop Diagnostic Lab Reports (2009)

Note that leaf tip burn caused by wind and/or hot temperature injury can appear similar to the damage of contact herbicides, fungal diseases, viral diseases (BYDV), foliar fertilizer burn or soil salinity.  However, with wind and/or hot temperatures, damage is often limited to the newest, just emerging, leaf tips.  Back in 2013, most reports in Manitoba indicated symptoms were on the flag leaf, with one case where symptoms also appeared on the penultimate leaf.

In the United States, the severity of leaf tip necrosis has been noted to be dependent on both the growing conditions during flag leaf emergence and the variety.

Unfortunately, there is little information reported in the literature whether this type of damage causes any yield losses.

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crop Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

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