Small Grains Plant Pathology

The small grains plant pathology program develops sustainable disease management strategies for the northern Great Plains region and beyond. We work closely with farmers, breeders, and other researchers to identify efficient disease control and management techniques. These techniques address current challenges economically, while also promoting the long-term viability of the region’s small grains production systems.


Our research focuses on understanding the biology of diseases and finding the best chemical, cultural, and biological control strategies to manage them. Studies investigate new and emerging diseases, as well as those already common in area production systems. 

Current research focuses on the management of:

  • Bacterial leaf streak (BLS)
  • Barley yellow dwarf (BYD)
  • Fusarium head blight (FHB)
  • Root and crown rot 

Trials are conducted on NWROC research land and on the farms of cooperating growers throughout the Red River Valley. Our state-of-the-art Bergland Laboratory features a plant pathology research facility, greenhouses, controlled environment chambers, and field facilities, with special arrangements for housing graduate students during the summer. 


We share our research results and management strategies with small grains producers throughout the region. Educational programs include plot tours, field days, and grower meetings that include information on disease identification and management, recent research, and emerging disease threats. Fact sheets and informational articles relating to small grains disease management are shared on the University of Minnesota Extension Small Grains website and the Minnesota Crop News blog.

Contact Information