Growers probably arent thinking about the threatof ear disease but perhaps they should be. Thats the warning of Fusarium specialist Dr PhilipJennings, of Fera.
He points out that the main threat comes fromweather at flowering but highlights that dry and warm springs can lead toincreased levels of the toxin producing Fusariaspecies. When its dry during April it aids inoculum build up of F. culmorum and F. graminearum on crop debris. The dataseems to suggest that wetter springs lead to less inoculum, he cautions.
But what worries Dr Jennings most is wet weatherfurther ahead. If it stays dry then F. graminearumperethicia production is inhibited. The worry is wet weather during May willnot just encourage perethicia development but it could also aid F. culmorum by splash dispersal ofspores throughout the crop and up the plant. Of course it all dependent on theweather but the conditions so far have been broadly favourable.
But its not just the toxin producing species thatare on his radar. The mild winter will have done little to check Microdochium too he suggests.
For that reason Bayer CropScience commercialtechnical manager Tim Nicholson is advising growers looking for any wheatpremium to go the prothioconazole route at the T2 timing. You wouldnt chooseAviator235Xpro (prothioconazole + bixafen) just becauseof its Fusaria suppression butit sure is a nice to have.
Trials with Harper Adams University College haverevealed that prothioconazole applications at the T1 or T2 can reduce final DONlevels at the ear by up to 40% in addition to the contribution from the earspray, he notes.