Stripe rust has been an important disease of wheat, barley, rye, triticale, and certain grass hosts throughout history— reducing the yield and quality of grain and forage, and lowering seed vigor, germination, and emergence. The disease continues to cause huge yield losses worldwide, and poses a major threat to the sustainable production of cereal crops.

Yield losses due to stripe rust are most attributed to:

  • cultivar susceptibility
  • earliness of initial infection
  • rate of disease development
  • duration of the disease

Stripe rust can cause 100% yield losses if infection occurs very early and continues to develop during the growing season. Estimates of yield losses of cereals by rusts are maintained by the USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory in St. Paul Minnesota.

Wheat stripe rust

Stripe rust of wheat is one of the most economically important diseases, and among stripe rusts on grass hosts, wheat stripe rust is the most important worldwide. As an example, the following table lists estimated grain yield losses in the U.S. since 2000. Without millions of dollars spent on fungicide control every year, the yield losses should have been two to three times more.

Estimated U.S. wheat yield losses due to stripe rust since 2000
Year Bushels (1000) Metric tons %
2012 54,794.06 1,491,251.92 2.41
2011 35,252.45 959,415.60 1.76
2010 95,768.74 2,606,401.17 4.36
2009 1,106.40 30,111.31 0.05
2008 2,081.90 56,660.10 0.08
2007 10,925.50 297,343.76 0.53
2006 4,383.10 119,288.58 0.24
2005 73,642.90 2,004,233.84 3.50
2004 12,229.50 332,832.87 0.57
2003 88,881.10 2,418,950.20 3.81
2002 7,995.60 217,604.85 0.49
2001 39,753.10 1,081,903.46 2.05
2000 9,068.50 246,804.44 0.41
These estimates were made using data maintained by the USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Lab in St. Paul Minnesota.

Barley stripe rust

Stripe rust of barley is one of the most important diseases of barley in the western United States, and has occurred for many years in Western Europe, the Middle East, south Asia, and east Asia.

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