Stay ahead of FHB this growing season

You can help to limit the presence of the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) in your harvested wheat, barley and oats, and protect the marketability of your grain, by taking a proactive approach to managing fusarium head blight (FHB) this growing season.

Commonly known as vomitoxin, DON can be produced when the fungal disease FHB infects cereal crops. Its presence can limit grain’s end uses and marketing potential, as most importing countries have strict limits on DON levels. Shipments that exceed acceptable levels of DON could be rejected, at tremendous cost to the industry and may impact Canada’s reputation as a producer of high-quality cereal grains.

FHB can be identified by premature bleaching and salmon-coloured fungal growth on the heads of crops it has infected, with symptoms showing up approximately three weeks after infection. To help keep marketing options open for your harvested grain and protect your investment, Keep it Clean recommends the following practices to manage FHB:

• Grow the most FHB-resistant varieties available in areas at risk for FHB.
• Plant clean seed and consider a seed treatment in high-risk areas.
• Scout for stage, not symptoms, and apply fungicide when there is an elevated risk of FHB.
• If FHB is identified, send samples of harvested grain for testing to detect the presence of mycotoxins, such as DON.
• Rotate away from cereals on FHB-infected fields for 1-2 years.
• Use a Combination of Best Management Practices to Control Fusarium.

Be sure to make use of the materials available through provincial commodity groups and agricultural departments, including risk maps, to inform your decisions and help limit the spread and severity of outbreaks. For more information about how staying ahead of FHB can help you protect your investment and the marketability of your cereal crop, visit keepingitclean.ca/cereals/fusarium.

This update has been provided by Keep it Clean. Additional resources and tips for growing a market-ready cereal crop are available at keepingitclean.ca/cereals.