Protect yourself with the FHB risk forecast tool
If you farm in Alberta, Fusarium graminearum is a yearly concern that can lead to fusarium head blight (FHB) in cereals. Between Fusarium damaged kernels (FDK) and deoxynivalenol (DON), FHB can lead to significant impacts to your crop’s yield, quality and grade. In some cases, it can render your crop unmarketable. Once flag leaf emerges, it is important to be on the lookout for environmental conditions conducive to fusarium development. Attention to this can help you protect your crop and help you make a decision on fungicide application.
Fusarium overwinters in grain and crop residue in the field. Those fields with a shorter rotation will be at higher risk of infection due to a build-up of infected crop residues. Given temperatures of 10-30oC and moisture, the fusarium fungus becomes active eventually sporulating to produce fruiting structures known as perithecia on old crop residues. Within these perithecia, the wind-dispersed spore stage known as ascospores is produced. There can also be sporulation and subsequent development of the rain-splashed spore stage known as macroconidia. Spore germination requires at least 12 hours of high humidity or rainfall and temperatures within the range of 10-30°C. However, optimum temperatures are around 25°C. Although your greatest risk of infection and impact occurs during anthesis (flowering), infection can occur at any point the head is out of the boot. Infections that occur during anthesis are more likely to cause FDK, especially in wheat. Infections that occur outside of anthesis timing may not cause FDK, however they can still lead to high levels of DON within your grain.