Source: Erick De Wolf, Extension Plant Pathology, Kansas State University

We'd like to continue to predict the likelihood of Fusarium head blight infections of wheat in Kansas and elsewhere, but we need your help. It won't cost a penny. All we need is your feedback on our Web-based prediction system.


Fusarium head blight (FHB) of wheat has been an important problem in Kansas, with several regional disease outbreaks occurring between 2007-10. The disease causes significant yield loss. Also, damaged grain is often contaminated with the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON), commonly known as vomitoxin. The disease is best managed through a combination variety resistance, field selection (not planting wheat into fields with heavy corn residue), and timely application of fungicides when weather conditions elevate the risk of disease development.


One problem with fungicide timing is that the disease is not visible in the field until it has already infected the wheat, and by that time fungicides will no longer be effective. The best time to apply fungicides for FHB is to apply them to the wheat head just before an infection occurs. To do that, there has to be a way to accurately predict the risk of FHB in a timely way so that producers have enough time to get the fungicide applied if necessary. To make such predictions, teams of scientists from various states have used a combination of environmental data and wheat crop stage in localized areas throughout a wide area of the U.S. The results are available on the Web.


The Web-based prediction tools (http://www.wheatscab.psu.edu/riskTool_2010.html) provide daily estimates of disease risk for 25 states east of the Rocky Mountains. This multi-state effort requires considerable resources to maintain, and scientists involved in the project would like to gather some input to justify continued investment of time, computing resources and funds needed to sustain the effort.


If you have used these tools during the 2010-growing season, we would like to hear from you. Please take a few minutes to complete this on-line survey that will help us evaluate, improve, and maintain the system.


The link to the survey is: http://www.hostedsurvey.com/takesurvey.asp?c=2010Us121326