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A Southern View

Crop Observations from Southern Illinois
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More on Wheat Diseases - Fusarium Head Blight

Posted by Robert Bellm -

Following up on yesterday's blog entry, Dr. Carl Bradley has written another Bulletin article on Fusarium head blight (FHB) of wheat. FHB, also commonly referred to as "scab" is the most serious wheat disease that we potentially deal with each year. Not only can it seriously reduce yield and test weight, grain quality can be reduced because the causal fungus also has the ability to produce the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON).

FHB is most apt to develop when prolonged wet, humid conditions occur just before, during, and immediately after flowering in wheat. There are several fungicides (Caramba, Prosaro, Proline, and tebuconazole) that are effective at reducing disease severity, but they have a very narrow application window (Feekes Growth Stage 10.5.1, or early flowering) and proper application timing is critical. With proper fungicide selection and application timing, FHB severity can be reduced by 60 - 70 percent. However, this level of control will drop by almost half if the application timing is off by just 5 days too early or too late. Fungicides work best when applied to wheat varieties that also have a higher level of genetic resistance to Fusarium head blight.

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