Farmers in Manitoba know the symptoms of fusarium head blight all too well — bleaching of the grain head, sometimes with a pink tinge, that results in shriveled and shrunk kernels. Sometimes called scab or tombstone, fusarium head blight not only bites into yield, it’s also a downgrading factor of grain. Grain with fusarium damaged kernels may be tough to market — even at a discount — because of the mycotoxin associated with fusarium infection.
For the lucky farmers in Alberta that aren’t dealing with fusarium infection on a regular basis, it’s still important to know how to avoid infection on your farm. For those who deal with the disease now and again or all the time, like those farmers in the eastern Prairies, there are several management decisions to make well ahead of the fungicide spraying window. Fusarium spores survive on crop residue and can spread through wind and rain splash and also through infected seed. Seed treatments can only do so much. Then there’s the impact of rotation, which, as you’ll hear from Kelly Turkington of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, actually has a significant impact on the risk of disease.
In this Agronomy Geeks podcast, Turkington and RealAgriculture editor, Lyndsey Smith, talk about what needs to happen ahead of seeding, strategies for farmers growing wheat under irrigation and eventually do get to fungicide timing as well. (Which, Peter Johnson does a great job of explaining and showing in this Wheat School video here).
The Agronomy Geeks podcast is brought to you by Cargill. Visit AskTheExpertNetwork.Ca to learn more.