Fusarium head blight is a very destructive fungus that affects wheat, barley, oats and corn. Fusarium is also commonly referred to as scab or tombstone. Fusarium can reduce yields in wheat from floret sterility and poor seed filling. The Fusarium fungus also produces toxins in wheat and barley that can be harmful to humans and livestock. Fusarium was designated as a pest under the Alberta Agricultural Pests Act in 1999 in an effort to slow down the spread. Alberta is currently one of the few areas in the world without a widespread infection of Fusarium in our cereal crops. Unfortunately, this disease is becoming more prevalent in the Southern part of our province, especially under irrigated areas. As Fusarium has been designated as a pest under the Alberta Agricultural Pests Act it is our duty to ensure that we are doing our best to control the spread of it within Vulcan County.
Fusarium head blight overwinters in soil, grass and crop residues as well as the seed. Seedlings may become infected at emergence. Spores are produced first from infections on the stem at the base of the plant. The spores are distributed by wind or rain and infect flower parts, glumes or other portions of the head. Infections are most severe during flowering.Symptoms of Fusarium often appear in the field at the end of July or early August. The disease can be recognized by premature bleaching of one or more spikelets on the head. In order to fight Fusarium in our area Vulcan County Agricultural Services recommends utilizing the best management practices for this disease. Probably the most important thing a producer should do is get their seed tested for Fusarium Graminearum. Other practices to consider is using clean treated seed, scouting mid-season and applying a fungicide if required, and maintaining a crop rotation with non-cereal crops.
Agriculture Informaton and Documentations:
Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture (AESA)
The Alberta Environmental Farm Plan Company (AEFP)
Alberta Agriculture Food and Rural Development (AAFRD)
Oldman Watershed Council (OWC)
PFRA Prairie Farm Shelterbelt Program
Cows and Fish - Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society
Ducks Unlimited Canada
Reduced Tillage LINKAGES
Alberta Research and Extension Council of Alberta (ARECA)