This project examined field scale research on durum and wheat fields for irrigation management, fungicide applications and cultural practices affecting Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) management. We took a closer look at whether irrigation timing may play a role in increasing or decreasing the occurrence of Fusarium. FHB is a cereal diseased caused by several strains of Fusarium Spp, pathogens and infection causing Fusarium damaged kernels (FDK). This can affect grade, yield and profitability of our crops. Fusarium Graminearum produces high levels of deoxynivalenol (DON), a mycotoxin that interferes with livestock and human consumption, as well as brewing, milling and pasta processing. The recommendations will be a part of an integrated pest management plan.
Nine co-operated field trials were conducted, and 25 random fields were surveyed annually in Southern Alberta. The field trials examined the differences between reduced and full irrigation regimes and fungicide applications. Field data collected included:
The survey data captured:
Annual producer surveys indicate a significant increase in producer awareness of Fusarium head blight management. In 2010, only two fields noted a history with FHB. This increased to four fields in 2011 and then further to 16 fields in 2012. The number of fields spayed for FHB also increased, going from 4 in 2010 to 18 in 2012. Most of these fields (64%) were growing a susceptible variety – 59% of these fields had a history of FHB.
Fusarium damaged kernels (FDK) were reduced up to 3.9% with irrigation management. Fungicide treatments also reduced FDK (in 80% of the fields) by 5.5%. The pathogen analysis of grain samples showed fungicide applications reduced Fusarium Graminearum (Fg) levels by 12% in 2010 and 2012 and 7% in 2011. Combining irrigation management and fungicide application reduced FDK better than when either practice was used by itself. The net economic benefit of fungicides was positive in 4/5 fields ranged from 1-3/bu.
In fields containing Fg in grain samples, 71% had grown a host crop within the previous two years. Irrigation appeared to be a key influence as 83% of Fg infected grain samples were on irrigated fields.
Read the full report
FHB project poster
No clear winner in FHB treatments
Farming Smarter tackles fusarium management
Contans & Fusarium – Farming Smarter Conference 2012
Fusarium trials – Disease crop walk 2012
Managing fusarium in crops – Conference 2010
Thank you to the producer co-operators, farming near Duchess, Lomond, Rainier, Camangay, Picture Butte, Bow Island and Burdette, who donated their land, equipment, time and knowledge to this project. Also, a special thanks to Drs. Kelly Turkington (AAFC Lacombe), Ron Howard (AARD Brooks), and Mike Harding (AARD Brooks) for pathology support. This work is supported by the Pest Management Centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Pesticide Risk Reduction Program (www.agr.gc.ca/prrmup).