E.W. Olive

Bulletin No.


Document Type



Botanical Department


Rusts are among the most common as well as among the most destructive of fungous diseases. They attack the cereals and grasses of our fields, the fruit trees of our orchards, and even the ornamental plants of our garden, causing in years especially favorable for their growth, enormous financial losses. Rusts are with us every year; we may not notice them so much during certain dry seasons, but not a year passes without the disease being present on grain and other plants to a greater or less extent. Professor Balley of the North Dakota Station estimates that the average annual loss to the wheat crop alone through rust in the United States approximates about twenty millions of dollars. Galloway judged the loss in wheat for the year 1891 at sixty-seven million dollars. Such great sums recorded each year as the -loss to farmers by rust is more often probably underestimated than exaggerated. Various crop experts placed the loss to the wheat crops of the wheat states of the Northwest, for the season of 1904, at thirty million bushels, aside from the loss in grade of the crop harvested. The "rusty year" of 1904, when grain rust was prevalent throughout the ·whole United States, was even more disastrous. Probably the loss throughout South Dakota during that year approximated as much as fifty per cent of the average annual crop. The disease as epidemic during 1904 on account of the especially favorable weather conditions which prevailed during that season. A wet spring, followed by warm, moist weather, presents just the conditions the rust needs for its rapid growth and spread. The weather known as "muggy", caused by showers with heat between and by heavy dews, results in a heavy, more or less succulent growth of the wheat plant, which thus becomes particularly susceptible to the entrance and rapid growth of the rust parasite. Those people are thus not altogether wrong who think that the rust is caused by warm, wet weather.


rust diseases, cereal rusts, plant fungi, wheat diseases



Publication Date









South Dakota Experiment Station, South Dakota State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts