Fusarium head blight confirmed in Nebraska

Due to the frequent and heavy rainfall that occurred during the flowering of wheat crops in the area of Mead, Nebraska, Fusarium head blight (scab) has been confirmed in a field at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Agricultural Research and Development Center (ARDC).

While the disease is in its initial stages of development, is expected to progress to severe levels in susceptible varieties within the next two to three weeks in some areas in the state. This is important information for farmers and those in the industry to be aware of, as scab can cause significant yield loss and reduced grain quality.

According to the University of Nebraska Extension, most of the Nebraska panhandle is at high risk for scab development this year. This is similar to 2009, when excessively wet weather coincided with the period before and during flowering of the wheat crop which caused Fusarium head blight to occur in the panhandle area. This year, similar weather conditions are being experienced and as of June 5, the Fusarium Head Blight Risk Assessment Tool showed more than half of Nebraska at moderate to high risk.

Fungicide application is recommended at early flowering to control scab. Farmers should consider the yield potential and other factors such as damage already done by another crop disease known as stripe rust, when making the decision to apply a fungicide to control Fusarium head blight. The probability of a return on investment from applying a fungicide to control the disease increases with increasing yield potential above 40 bushels per acre.

Advanced stages of stripe rust and another disease known as black chaff, a bacterial disease also called bacterial streak when it occurs on leaves, have been observed at the ARDC as well.

The article states it is too late to control stripe rust in the southern part of the state and black chaff cannot be controlled once it develops.

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For more information on Neogen’s comprehensive range of mycotoxin test kits and other helpful information for dealing with scab, click here.

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