Rain showers may result in stripe rust on farmers' crops

MOSCOW, ID - People on the Palouse may not be excited for the cold and windy weather that's expected over the next couple days, but farmers are looking forward to it.

The lower temperatures are expected to bring rain showers, which will benefit the crops after a couple of relatively dry months. But, experts said farmers should keep in mind that the cold weather and rain combination can cause the spread of stripe rust.

"One thing they need to watch is go ahead and scout their fields," said WSU Regional Extension Specialist in Agricultural and Natural Resources Stephen VanVleet. "Look at their fields in case there was some stripe rust already present because it may be on the increase and they may have to get treated."

Stripe rust is a leaf disease that can prevent crops for photosynthesizing properly, which would result in a lower yield. However, farmers typically don't need to worry about cold weather damaging crops unless temperatures go below freezing.