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Tips to manage fusarium head blight

Tips to manage fusarium head blight

By Scout Nelson

As wheat farmers face the challenge of Fusarium Head Blight (FHB), also known as head scab, understanding the right time to apply fungicides is crucial.

FHB primarily strikes during the flowering stage of wheat, a period that has just begun in southeast Nebraska's fields this warm spring. Historically, FHB has led to significant epidemics and severe yield losses.

Here’s what you need to know about managing FHB:

  • Risk Factors: The FHB fungus thrives on moist conditions and is often found in fields with a history of cereal crops. Frequent rains and high humidity right before and during wheat flowering increase the risk.
  • Fungicide Timing: The best time to apply fungicides for FHB is at the beginning of flowering (Feekes 10.5.1 stage). Look for yellow anthers appearing on about 15% of the main wheat heads. Applications can still be effective up to six days after this stage.
  • Product Choices: Several fungicides, such as Caramba, Miravis Ace, and Prosaro, are specifically recommended for FHB. These products also help manage other wheat diseases like stripe and leaf rust.
  • Application Methods: Large ground sprayers or aerial applications are both effective. However, ensuring a higher volume of fungicide—up to five gallons per acre for aerial applications—can significantly enhance disease control.
  • Environmental Considerations: Post-application, it is ideal if rain does not occur for at least four hours to allow the fungicide to adhere properly.

In the recent Market Journal interview, expert Stephen Wegulo emphasized the urgency of monitoring weather patterns and applying fungicides promptly to reduce the impact of FHB on wheat crops. By adhering to these guidelines, farmers can protect their wheat from devastating losses and ensure a healthier harvest.

Photo Credit -gettyimages-ianchrisgraham

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Categories: Nebraska, Crops, Wheat

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