Head blight a bigger problem in Idaho

The fungal disease referred to as head blight is being found extensively in wheat and became a problem for some malt barley growers in Idaho in 2015.

Fusarium head blight produces the DON toxin, which is unacceptable for malting and milling of either wheat or barley. The degree of the problem for wheat or barley in Idaho for 2015 has not been fully determined, but more Fusarium is being detected all the time.

Juliet Marshall, University of Idaho cereals pathologist, said Fusarium has become more widespread as acres of corn, which is a major host plant, has been planted on more acres in Idaho and more widespread in heavy wheat and barley production areas.

"(Head blight) is becoming a huge problem, and one of the biggest issues is the environment in which we're producing our small grains, Marshal said. "If we plant small grains after corn, we find higher levels of DON toxin. She was quoted by John O'Connell with Capital Press.

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