Fusarium Infection High in Manitoba
Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives reports fusarium head blight infection has been particularly high in Manitoba this year.
Fusarium is a fungal infection that primarily affects cereal crops and it's of particular concern to swine producers because certain species produce mycotoxins.
In contrast to Saskatchewan, where the severity of fusarium infection has actually declined this year, rates of infection have increased in Manitoba.
Provincial Plant Pathologist David Kaminski says fusarium levels in spring plant cereals are higher than they've been over the last two years.
"We have heard through the harvest survey done by the Canadian Grain Commission that, in hard red spring wheat for example, over 40 percent of the samples from Manitoba have been downgraded due to fusarium damaged kernels.
That's a significant amount and it's the first time in three years that fusarium has been the cause of that downgrading ahead of other factors.
One thing we don't have a good handle on yet is regional variation but, I'd have to say that there is variation.
In each region their are some fields that had no fusarium and others that had significant levels, even high levels but there is as yet no consistency of variation across the regions."
Kaminski says the Canadian Grain Commission survey also indicates that in hard white spring wheat, a type of wheat that's taking off in terms of acreage, snowbird had a slightly level of downgrading.
He says a general rule of thumb is that the mycotoxins tend to remain roughly on par with the levels of fusarium infection but he points out that doesn't always hold true.
Fusarium Infection Low in Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food reports losses in wheat and barley from fusarium head blight have been particularly low this year.
In contrast to the situation in Manitoba, where fusarium has been a major problem, a Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food fusarium survey indicates infection has been light across the province.
Provincial Plant Disease Specialist Penny Pearse says the highest levels are in the southeast corner of Saskatchewan.
"Fusarium head blight was found in 32 percent of the wheat fields surveyed but the good news was that overall severity was very low and, by that, it was 0.03 percent, so that's the lowest reported in recent years.
That is good news. The other good news with that is that main species we're concerned about, fusarium graminearum, was only found in five fields which is only about five percent of the fields that they surveyed so that's good news.
When I talk about fusarium head blight, I'll clarify that.
Fusarium head blight can be caused by a number of different fusarium species, so it's kind of like a complex of species that cause that disease but they're not all created equally.
That graminearum is the one we're most concerned with because it has the ability to produce the mycotoxin in the grain.
In barley, overall fusarium head blight was found in 56 percent of barley crops surveyed and the overall severity was 0.3 percent and in barley that number is similar to what we've seen other years.
It's low but a little bit more than it was in wheat."
Pearse says the good news fusarium graminearum was isolated in only one barley field.
She also says irrigated crops, both wheat and barley, tend to be more susceptible to fusarium.