By Don Hershman, University of Kentucky

Fusarium head blight (FHB) of wheat, and deoxynivalenol (DON) accumulation in harvested grain was a serious problem in 2009, but each year brings with it new possibilities. The weather conditions in Kentucky thus far in 2010 have not been anything like they were in 2009. As a result, the FHB/DON risk has been minimal. This could, however, change. Since wheat is now heading out in much of the state, it behooves you to pay close attention to the FHB risk over the next 2-3 weeks.

An exciting new tool can be used to help you determine the FHB risk and need to spray a fungicide. This tool is a Web-based, disease forecasting model made available by Penn State University, The Ohio State University, Kansas State University and the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative. This model, utilizes real-time weather data from numerous National Weather Service stations within each state. For Kentucky, weather data included in the disease model have been significantly "ramped-up" due to the addition of about 50 Kentucky Mesonet weather stations www.kymesonet.org/.

Go to www.wheatscab.psu.edu/ and click on "Risk map tool," then select the state of Kentucky to see the current FHB risk for Kentucky. The commentary section at the bottom of the map is a place where I have the opportunity to write a brief summary of the current risk and model output and put them in proper context to things such as crop stage.

Hopefully, FHB and DON will be minor in the state and region this year.