Protect Wheat Quality as well as YieldPosted in: Farming By Bayer CropScience June 1 2009
There is often a lot of emphasis on the yield part of the equation when looking at the return you hope to get on your wheat. However, quality is a significant part of your bottom line and needs as much attention to ensure you get the most out of your crop.
Plant pathologists point to fusarium head blight (FHB) as a significant threat to wheat – having a potentially devastating yield impact as well as a significant threat to the quality of the grain.
FHB is a disease affecting wheat and barley that produces deoxynivalenol (DON). DON is the most watched mycotoxin in cereals for more than a decade. DON that is produced by Fusarium fungus, found in FHB, can cause DON levels as high as 30 ppm (parts per million) in wheat and barley.
Millers that process wheat into flour for human consumption are always on the look-out for DON because food safety standards only allow trace amounts. As a result, wheat with excessive levels will be downgraded at the elevator – a significant impact on the return you get for your crop.
When it comes to DON levels, it’s important to know what’s acceptable. Health Canada allows 2 ppm in human food. Dairy cows and beef cattle are estimated to be able to tolerate up to 8 to 12 ppm. However, according to Canadian Grain Commission tolerance guidelines, there’s a quality penalty starting at 0.25% fusarium damaged kernels (FDK) in a grain sample. As thatlevel reaches 5% it is downgraded to feed. On average one percent FDK will produce 1 ppm DON.
Proactively managing DON levels by protecting your wheat from the onset of FHB with a foliar fungicide like Folicur® from Bayer CropScience is important to the entire wheat supply chain. Higher yields and better quality hang in the balance.
Folicur contains the active ingredient, tebuconazole,. It is registered for wheat against leaf diseases and fusarium head blight.
In Bayer CropScience trials, DON levels were reduced by 30% with Folicur over the untreated check. Not only did this help improve yields by 20%, it also resulted in better grades and improved marketability
Timing of Application is critical to protect against FHB and DON.
One of the most important considerations in choosing the right protection for your crop is the timing of application.
For best control of FHB, it’s recommended that you apply when 75% of the wheat heads on the main stem are emerged and 50% of the heads on the main stem are flowering.
If 75% of the heads on the main stem are fully emerged, it is considered “Day 0”, the optimal timing for an application of Folicur fungicide for FHB control, then Day 1 and Day 2 are also considered optimum for an application within your field.
However, by Days 3 to 5 the risk of an FHB infection in untreated areas is high – especially where there is moisture (rain, heavy dew or humidity), and where the night time temperatures are above 10°C while the day time temperatures are under 32°C.
By Day 6 and beyond, an application of fungicide for FHB control is too late and will have less benefit.
With optimal timing that’s so precise, it’s best to prepare. In the days leading up to Day 0 (75% of head fully emerged) it’s important to get ready to apply Folicur. Assess the risk factors in your field, book your Folicur and make sure your sprayer is tuned. If you are in an area that typically sees FHB infection, be on alert. Watch moisture and night time temperatures. There is a high risk of FHB infection if there is high humidity, heavy dews or rain in the days after the wheat is at the boot stage and where night time temperatures exceed
By being proactive, you can reap a more marketable crop and more profitable harvest in both yield and quality.
For more information on how to get the most out of your fungicide treatments and implementing an effective disease management program visit: www.BattlefieldForYield.ca.
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