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Fusarium head blight is becoming more and more severe

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  • Severe Fusarium head blight infection may lead to a significant decrease in yield.
  • Will protecting already infected plantations help obtain a satisfactory yield?

Fusarium head blight had good conditions for development during flowering

Fusarium head blight is a disease that leads to a combination of several unfavorable phenomena. First of all, it reduces the MTZ, which directly affects the yield. Additionally, the presence of the fungus in such advanced stages of development of cereals (after all, we are talking about infecting the ear and therefore the grain) causes the obtained grain to be a storehouse of mycotoxins. The presence of mycotoxins causes a real deterioration of grain quality. It's not even about its usefulness for consumption purposes – even just 1%. infected grain prevents the wheat from being approved for consumption. If the infection is severe, we also lose its usefulness for fodder purposes, because such grain may also be harmful to animals.

In turn, the losses caused by the presence of Fusarium blight can reach up to 50-60 percent. These are considerable numbers. They result not only from the reduction of MTZ. It may happen that there will be no grain in the infected part of the ear – this may be the effect of a strong infection during flowering.

Symptoms of Fusarium head blight do not have to be identical in every plantation. At the beginning, when the disease manifests itself, we will notice that part of the ear may be lighter. This is where the infection develops. It happens that the entire ears are relatively light, which means that the disease has completely taken over this part of the plant. We may observe that the infected part turns white over time or becomes covered with a slightly pink coating – these symptoms may occur simultaneously.

Please note that the vast majority of wheat or triticale plantations are in the post-flowering period. Meanwhile, it is during this period that the susceptibility of winter crops, especially wheat, to Fusarium head blight is the highest. Especially since we had previously experienced drought, in many regions there were rainfalls during the flowering period. It was also relatively warm, which, combined with high humidity, favored infection.

Where infestation is high, we have the final whistle for protection

What can we do? In the case of very strong infections, which in extreme cases cover the entire ears, in fact not much, our hands are tied, because protection on such plantations will not help. However, in practice, we may be dealing with the initial external symptoms of fusariosis. Only after a period of latent infection do we notice symptoms of the disease on the ears. However, in such a situation, it is worth performing the T-3 treatment if we have not done so yet. Thiazoles, including: prothioconazole, tebuconazole, metconazole. If the treatment was performed recently, e.g. a week or two weeks ago, protection in the plantation is ensured and the active substances still work. In turn, when deciding to apply now, remember about the grace period of plant protection products.

At the same time, let's pay attention to crop rotation issues. Currently, we only have chemical protection on infected plantations, but through appropriate crop rotation and agrotechnics we can reduce the risk of Fusarium head blight infection in the future. Cereals that rotate with corn are particularly susceptible to infection. Practice also shows that greater severity of diseases is associated with simplifications. However, let's not demonize simplified systems here. However, please pay attention to the proper distribution of straw, which may also be a source of infection.

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