Monday, April 8, 2013

Fusarium Head Blight Prediction Center and Assessment Tool Upgraded


Hot, dry conditions last spring resulted in almost no Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) occurring in Kentucky’s wheat crop.  It is anyone’s guess how severe FHB will be this year, but the time will soon be upon us to decide if spraying a fungicide for FHB (and deoxynivalenol [DON] in grain) is necessary.  As a result, I just wanted to bring your attention to the recently revamped FHB Prediction Center and Risk Assessment Tool webpage (http://www.wheatscab.psu.edu/). Both the appearance of the webpage and its functionality have been substantially improved. Additionally, a mobile version of the tool is available. The site should automatically go to the mobile version if you try to access it from a smart phone or other mobile device.

The purpose of the Assessment Tool is to provide growers and consultants with a FHB risk assessment leading up to and including the all-important time of early flowering (anthesis). This is the time when fungicides targeting FHB/DON must be applied in order to be effective. The Prediction Center also includes extensive and helpful information on how to use the tool (including several important limitations), as well as information on the disease prediction models used.

I have found the tool to be very useful and mostly accurate.  It is important to note that the tool does not address events after anthesis that impact FHB and DON during grain development. The developers of the tool specifically chose to exclude this period because fungicides applied after anthesis will not control either FHB or DON.  In other words, the FHB Assessment Tool is to be used as a fungicide decision aid and not a final outcome predictive tool.  

If you are interested in signing up for text and/or email alerts for specific states and/or regions of the country, go to http://www.scabusa.org/fhb_alert.php and sign up.

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