Stem rust

Stem Rust


  • Stem rust is an occasional, but devastating disease of wheat

  • Conditions that produce an outbreak are rare

  • Stem rust can olny survive on a living host


  • Stem rust is characterised by reddish-brown, powdery, oblong pustules in leaves, stems, and glumes

  • As the plant matures, the pustules produce black spores known as teliospores

  • They occur mainly on the leaf sheaths and stem


  • Severe stem rust infections that develop on susceptible varities before flowering can cause crop losses of 50%

  • Grain quality can also be reduced


Stem rust can be managed using an integrated approach. This includes reducing the inoculum present in a district by managing the green bridge, avoiding susceptible cultivars and close monitoring to enable timely fungicide sprays. Sowing resistant varieties provides the best protection against stem rust. 




Links and Resources

DAFWA - Farmnote 456. Stem rust

Page contains information on cereal seed dressing and in-furrow fungicides used for stem rust, disease diagnosis, cautions, and further contacts. Last updated 2011.

DAFWA - Management of stem rust in WA

Management of stem rust in Western Australia, pre season management, and spring management.

DEPI VIC - Identification and management of field crop diseases in Victoria. - Stem Rust of wheat

Stem rust in Victoria, what to look for, disease cycle, conditions favourable to stem rust, and management. Published 2012.

DEPI VIC - Stem Rust of Wheat

Short overview of stem rust in Victoria, symptoms, conditions favourable to stem rust, management, fungicide application, and life cycle. Published 2005, updated 2012, reviewed 2013.

Victorian winter crop summary 2014 - Stem rust

Table 6: Wheat disease guide. Page 11. Causal organism, symptoms, occurrence, inoculum source, and control. Updated annually.