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The points of contact between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and the grower & business communities are the NJ County Agricultural Agents. The agents are a tremendous source of information for both new and experienced growers.
Visit your local county extension office.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Orchardgrass leaf streak disease

I was out looking at an orchardgrass field yesterday that was infected with the disease "leaf streak", also called brown stripe. This is becoming more of a problem in the mid-Atlantic. Agronomists across the region have been noticing vigor and persistence problems with orchardgrass. Orchardgrass stands which would typically last for 6-8 years are lasting for 3 years or less. Regrowth has been slow, pests and diseases are damaging stands, and stands have been performing poorly for unexplained reasons. I know this is not news to many of our growers. To try to determine what is happening the Mid-Atlantic Orchardgrass task force was established in 2008. Unfortunately, we don't have many control options for forage diseases. It is recommended to maintain proper fertility, suppress weeds, and two rotate to a non-grass crop for two years prior to establishing orchardgrass. The orchardgrass task force has begun conducting variety evaluations for disease and control studies. Hopefully we will have more answers in the future to address the problems in orchardgrass. For more information and disease pictures visit the the overview of the Mid-Atlantic Orchardgrass Task Force. 

Bill Bamka