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Fusarium Head Blight (Scab)

Fusarium head blight or scab can seriously reduce yields and result in mycotoxin-contaminated grain and low-vigor seed in all cereal crops if moist conditions exist at the time of flowering. A new extension web site called Scab Smart (http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/scabsmart/) provides up-to-date information on the integrated management of Fusarium head blight.

Symptoms of Fusarium head blight (FHB) on malting barley are less distinctive than what we are accustomed to seeing in wheat.  We are gaining experience with rating barley for FHB and we share this pictorially (PDF).  Soft dough stage is the most opportune time to visualize symptoms of FHB on wheat spikes.  We are generally seeing FHB expressed as moderate darkening of individual florets or clusters of florets.  You can see in the photographs by Jaime Cummings that pink Fusarium colonies typically grow, under incubation at high humidity, from portions of the spikes that she tagged as having FHB symptoms.   If only the very tip of the floret is discolored this is usually not due to Fusarium infection. FHB symptoms at soft dough are indicative of infection of the grain by Fusarium graminearum and contamination with the mycotoxin, deoxynivalenol (DON).  Barley grain is not typically purchased by malt houses at levels exceeding 1 ppm of DON.


Related Resources

  • Evaluation of conventional and OMRI approved foliar fungicides for control of Fusarium head blight and foliar diseases of spring malting barley in New York, 2015. Plant Disease Management Reports 10: CF029. - 2016 (PDF)
  • Evaluation of integrated methods for management of Fusarium head blight and foliar diseases of spring malting barley in New York, 2015. Plant Disease Management Reports 10: CF018. - 2016 (PDF)
  • Evaluation of integrated methods for management of Fusarium head blight and foliar diseases of winter wheat in New York, 2015. Plant Disease Management Reports 10: CF017. - 2016 (PDF)
  • Evaluation of foliar fungicides for control of Fusarium head blight and foliar diseases of winter wheat in New York, 2015. Plant Disease Management Reports 10: CF016. - 2016 (PDF)
  • Evaluation of foliar diseases and Fusarium head blight on spring malting barley varieties in New York, 2015. Plant Disease Management Reports 10: CF020. - 2016 (PDF)
  • Evaluation of Fusarium head blight and foliar diseases on winter malting barley varieties in New York, 2015. Plant Disease Management Reports 10: CF019. - 2016 (PDF)
  • Malting Barley Fusarium Head Blight Symptoms - July 2015 (PDF)
  • Triazole Sensitivity in a Contemporary Population of Fusarium graminearum from New York Wheat and Competitiveness of a Tebuconazole-Resistant Isolate, Plant Disease, May 2014 (PDF)
  • Tebuconazole Resistant Isolate of Fusarium graminearum in New York: Further information and insights on an article in the May 2014 issue of Plant Disease (PDF)
  • A Unified Effort to Fight an Enemy of Wheat and Barley: Fusarium Head Blight, Plant Disease, December 2012 (PDF)
  • Fusarium Head Blight Fact Sheet, Penn State University (PDF)
     
  • Fusarium Head Blight Risk Assessment Tool: This prediction tool provides daily estimates of risk for Fusarium head blight. Selecting New York State from the map will zoom view to that state and detail the risk of disease in that area along with a commentary from the NYS Extension Plant Pathologist. The risk maps show current estimates of the risk of Fusarium head blight based on weather past seven days. 
  • Scab Smart- website providing information on key management information for each small grain class affected by this disease