Dry conditions across much of Western Canada have some growers wrestling with the decision on whether or not to apply a fungicide — or to go with one application instead of two — to prevent leaf disease and fusarium head blight infection.

There are several factors to consider, says Kelly Turkington, with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. RealAgriculture caught up with Turkington at Lacombe, Alberta, for this episode of the Wheat School, filmed at CanolaPalooza this week.

As a starting point, when considering fusarium, the disease history in the field and surrounding area will give you an idea of how much of the pathogen (Fusarium graminearum) is present. We know we have susceptible hosts plants, and so the final, most significant variable is the weather. Turkington recommends paying close attention to the forecast, and fusarium risk maps that are posted online by provincial agriculture departments.

“One simple strategy that I’ve talked about is go out into that field, and if you go out at 8 or 9 in the morning and the soil surface is dry, your boots don’t get muddy, and the crop canopy is dry, those are conditions are not conducive to disease development,” he says. “Conversely, if you go out into a field at 2 or 3 in the afternoon and your boots are muddy, your pants are wet, you’ve got environmental conditions int hat crop that would facilitate leaf disease development or fusarium.”

Find your provincial risk map here:


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