By Don Molino, The Voice of Louisiana Agriculture Radio Network
Fusarium head blight—or scab disease—has been around for a long time. But LSU AgCenter plant breeder Dr. Steve Harrison says it’s really become a big problem in most of the country over the last 15 years and in Louisiana the past five or so years.
“One of the reasons for that is because Fusarium is also a disease of corn,” says Harrison. “And, of course, our corn acreage has increased tremendously as has reduced tillage. So we have a lot of corn stubble on top of the ground and that helps to spread scab.”
The other thing that contributes to Fusarium being a problem is “we seem to have gotten into a weather pattern where it’s very rainy during the wheat heading time and that’s when scab infects the head,” said Harrison.
Harrison also points out Fusarium head blight is a very difficult disease to control from a fungicide perspective “because fungicides are not very effective. If done right you might get a 60% reduction in the disease from a fungicide but it has to be applied during that heading period when you’re probably getting rain and getting infections” of scab disease.