Fusarium head blight is a disease in wheat that can cost you now in reduced yields and profits and later when it appears in another crop like corn.

In wheat, FHB or scab causes low test weights, lost yield, low germination and mycotoxin contamination through Deoxynivalenol (DON or vomitoxin. Wheat kernels have a shrunken, chalky white appearance.

The Fusarium pathogen causes disease in other crops such as corn, and it can overwinter between crops among field stubble. This means that crop rotation practices often used to manage worm and insect pests aren’t effective when it comes to FHB.

“If scab is present in a wheat field one year, it can overwinter, showing up in that field the next year as Gibberella stalk rot in corn,” Jason Manz, cereals marketing manager, Bayer CropScience. “Plant wheat the next year, and the cycle continues.”

Wheat growers often assume that strobilurin chemistries, which are very effective at controlling foliar disease, will be just as effective against scab. That is not the case, and poorly timed strobilurin application can, in fact, do more harm to your crop than good. 

“Growers who use strobilurin chemistries face an even greater risk because the formula does not contain any active ingredients for countering scab,” says Randy Myers, Bayer CropScience product development manager. “In fact, strobilurins applied after the flag leaf growth stage may actually initiate increased DON levels.”

To prevent dangerous levels of DON from cropping up and draining grain, university Extension agents recommend using Prosaro fungicide along with responsible management practices due to its track record.

Results from 31 winter wheat trials administered in Indiana and Ohio revealed that when Prosaro was applied at 6.5 ounces per acre during the Feekes growth stage 10.51, DON contamination levels decreased from 3.57 ppm to 1.18 ppm.

Another study analyzed from 2008-2010 focused on yield potential in winter and spring wheat. For winter wheat, 169 trials gathered in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Michigan, Tennessee and Illinois reported an average of 75.9 bushels per acre on untreated grain, with a jump to 89.3 bushels per acre on acreage protected by Prosaro.

In spring wheat, 28 plots were tested in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, with Prosaro pulling off 76.7 bushels per acre over untreated wheat at 70.4 bushels per acre. 

Read more about identification of FHB in wheat, what DON means to growers and more management practices at www.Prosaro.us.