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What Is The Current Risk Of Fusarium Head Blight In Wheat In Central PA?
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 05/24/2023

Fusarium Head Blight (FHB), or wheat scab is the most economically significant disease of wheat in the United States. The disease causes yield reduction and may lead to crop contamination with mycotoxins, particularly deoxynivalenol (DON, vomitoxin). The disease is caused by several species of Fusarium, with Fusarium graminearum being the most common.

Fusarium Head Blight is favored by warm conditions and extended periods of high relative humidity during and after flowering (Figure 1). Management practices include using moderately resistant varieties, crop rotation away from small grains and corn, residue management, and fungicides at flowering (when anthers are visible in 50% of the primary tillers) if the conditions are conducive for disease development..

Although wheat is past anthesis in some areas of Pennsylvania, the crop is heading in Central PA, and flowering has started. With the current dry weather, the Fusarium Risk Tool indicates that the risk is low (yellow color on the map) across most of Pennsylvania for very susceptible (Figure 2) and susceptible varieties (Figure 3) as of today (May 23) and the next six days. If moderately resistant varieties are being grown, the current risk is minimal.

Figure 2. Fusarium head blight risk tool forecast for May 23 (first/upper panel), May 25 (second panel), May 27 (third panel), and May 29 (fourth panel) for very susceptible wheat varieties. Yellow color represents low risk, orange color represents medium risk, and red color represents high risk of FHB.


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