The 5-year project - Developing a Risk Model to Improve the Effectiveness of Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) Mitigation in Western Canadian Cereal - was launched last year. Researchers need more fields in Alberta to survey this year.

FHB is a fungal disease that affects cereal crops by reducing productivity and producing mycotoxins in grain. However, using farm management decisions for controlling FHB to improve crop production, lower toxin levels and marketability by as little as 1%, can add greater returns for the producer following harvest.

Greg Daniels, senior plant pathology technologist at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, says that the project aims to use local weather data, crop variety resistance levels and seeding date to develop a specifically western Canadian model for disease development. It will be used to create a publically available viewer that will help with disease prevention and management.

“To build the model, we need to collect data across the FHB affected areas of Alberta in spring wheat, winter wheat, 2-row barley, and durum fields,” he explains. “We currently have enough fields of spring wheat for 2020, but we still need winter wheat and durum producers in general, as well as barley growers for some of the FHB resistance classes.”

Researchers are looking for fields in areas where FHB has been found and are located as close as possible to weather stations.

Participating producers will be asked to set aside a small area to remain unsprayed with fungicides at anthesis. A student technician, following stringent biosecurity protocols, will need access the field 3 times to rate the crop for disease and to collect a small harvest sample. Producers will receive an initial summary of results and analysis of the samples from their fields.

The project is led by the University of Manitoba, funded by the Western Grains Research Foundation and supported by provincial agriculture ministries, including Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

Contact

For more information, connect with Greg Daniels:

Email: [email protected]

or Tijmen Jonker:

Email: [email protected]

For media inquiries about this article, call Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s media line:
Phone: 780-422-1005