Fusarium head blight (scab)

Is there anything that can be done to address the Fusarium infection now?

During harvest it may be possible to reduce the amount of Fusarium-damaged kernels by adjusting the combine to remove the diseased kernels. Of course, there is a practical limit to benefits of these adjustments because some healthy grain will be lost at the same time. The bottom line is to try some different adjustments. See what you can do to reduce the amount of scabby kernels in the harvested grain. 

If you have on-farm storage, you might also want to allocate part of your storage for holding the most severely damaged grain. Price discounts are often most severe at harvest and may decrease as an elevator or grain terminal has a better understanding of the overall grain quality they have to work with this year. Storing the grain temporarily on farm can offer some flexibility when marketing Fusarium-damaged grain.   

Fusarium-damaged grain can be used for seed but you will want to take some extra precautions to ensure seed quality before planting the next crop. The Fusarium fungus can reduce germination of seed and cause seedling blights when the infected seed is planted. In some cases, plants that do survive may develop a root rot as mature plants. Fungicide seed treatments can help address these problems. Many of the widely marketed seed treatment products are labeled for control of seed-borne Fusarium and suppression of Fusarium root rot. More information about seed treatment options can be found in the publication: Seed Treatment Fungicides for Wheat Disease Management, (MF2955) at: http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/MF2955.pdf
 

Erick DeWolf, Extension Plant Pathology
dewolf1@ksu.edu