- Associated Press - Monday, February 2, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Officials say a fungus that harms wheat crops has been found in central and eastern Arkansas.

The University of Arkansas System’s Cooperative Extension Service said Monday that stripe rust has been found in Jefferson, Lincoln and Lee counties. Extension officials say the disease is the most important wheat ailment for wheat growers to monitor.

They say it has appeared earlier this growing season than usual but cooler temperatures are minimizing the impact to young plants.

An extension plant pathologist says farmers should only apply fungicides where the disease is prevalent. He says spraying an entire crop could create fungi resistant to treatment.

Nearly 400,000 acres of wheat were planted in Arkansas in the fall.

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