Managing Fusarium head blight on wheat
Fungicide use can reduce the severity of Fusarium head blight by as much as 50 percent and DON levels by 30 to 40 percent, though the actual reductions are highly variable. Growers and researchers have also found that fungicides targeting Fusarium head blight may result in improved grain quality and yield, even where Fusarium head blight does not develop. This is attributed to the fungicides’ contribution to the control of leaf diseases that often threaten the upper plant canopy.
Successful applications of fungicides against Fusarium head blight depend on the use of the following factors.
Recommended fungicides (Table 1).To date, the most effective products are Prosaro and Caramba. Folicur, and other brands of tebuconazole, is less effective on Fusarium head blight but, because of lower cost, might be considered where the risk of Fusarium head blight is relatively low and the threat of foliar diseases persists.
Proper application timing. Applications should be made while the wheat heads are in the early stages of flowering, when anthers can be seen on 25 to 50 percent of heads. This level of flowering usually occurs, depending on air temperatures, one to four days after the majority of the heads have fully emerged.
Application adjustments. For best results, the boom height should be adjusted upward to target the wheat heads; flat fan nozzles should be angled forward 30 degrees from horizontal (Where ground speed is below six miles per hour, nozzles can be alternately directed forward and backward.); use nozzles and pressure that provide a droplet size between the “fine” and “medium” categories (275 to 350 microns); and the sprayer should be calibrated to deliver 10 to 20 gallons of volume per acre.
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