Final Fusarium Head Blight Considerations

Alyssa Koehler, Extension Field Crops Pathologist; akoehler@udel.edu

We are now about 3 weeks past flowering in wheat and symptoms of Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) are becoming visible (Figure 1). Fields with high incidence of FHB may be at risk for elevated levels of deoxynivalenol (DON). Steps for scouting fields for FHB were introduced in the May 17 WCU. When assessing FHB incidence, remember to select heads randomly to not bias your sample. If you have high levels of FHB in your field, or in part of a field, you want to consider harvesting as early as possible. Increasing the fan speed at harvest can help to remove lightweight, diseased grain with chaff. This technique is feasible when the rest of the grain is of good quality; the goal is to blow the lightweight, diseased kernels with high DON without blowing out heavier high-quality kernels. It is also best to dry grain to at least 15%, and store grain with FHB issues separate from cleaner grain.

Figure 1. Bleaching of wheat heads due to Fusarium Head Blight