Risk of head scab increases for some Ohio wheat growers

Wheat_DON_LowRes_PublicDomain_blogConcerns about Fusarium head blight development are now on the rise for wheat growers across Ohio whose plants are at or near the flowering growth stage. According to a Purdue University article, the highest risk is for growers in northwest Ohio, who are at moderate to high risk for scab due to the wet, humid conditions experienced recently.

“While most of our fields are now in early grain fill, there are still a few fields in the northwestern portion of the state that are flowering this week. Fields flowering this week are still at risk for scab and vomitoxin because the region has experienced increased warm and humid conditions,” Pierce Paul, an Ohio State University Extension wheat specialist, said in the article.

This information is gleaned using a regional online assessment tool to determine head scab development risk, available at the Fusarium Head Blight Prediction Center website, www.wheatscab.psu.edu. Known as the Fusarium Risk Assessment Tool, it helps growers assess the risk for scab and to determine whether a fungicide application at flowering is warranted for scab control.

Growers with wheat at or near flowering stage can minimize the risk of scab development by applying fungicides to their crops, the article states. While the ideal time to apply these fungicides is at flowering, applications made up to five days after flowering may also provide good levels of scab and vomitoxin control.

Scab is the most economically important wheat disease in Ohio because it affects the crop in multiple ways. For example, scab can cause vomitoxin (DON) contamination of the grain, making it unfit for marketing and for human or animal consumption.

Ohio is not the only area dealing with DON prevalence as reports have confirmed it at unprecedented levels in the southeastern U.S. including Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

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