Fusarium head blight. It’s one nasty disease that most of the Prairies was happy to consider a southern Manitoba problem. The troubling reality, however, is that the disease has been steadily marching west for quite some time, and while it’s not news that the disease has been found in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the incidence of the disease in 2012 was shockingly high in many areas. Reports out of Saskatchewan of very high infection rates in seed lots has some farmers asking if there will be enough clean seed to go around for 2013. They’re right to be somewhat concerned — clean seed of some varieties will be tough to come by.
Retiring plant pathologist Jeannie Gilbert spoke with RealAgriculture.com earlier this week to share her thoughts on the importance of an integrated management plan for managing fusarium. There’s no one way to prevent or deal with this disease. Weather conditions prior to and at heading are going to play the biggest role in development of the disease, but there’s several things farmers must do in order to limit the destruction from this pest. Clean and treated seed of the most tolerant variety are a must in endemic areas; penciling in a fungicide application is prudent for many areas and a must for still more. See the rest of the discussion in the quick video below.
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