Wheat Journal: Help Fight Fusarium

January 5, 2011 05:58 AM

Help Fight Fusarium

Fusarium head blight, better known by the perfectly disgusting name "head scab," is a pain. The disease causes significant yield loss, and damaged grain is often contaminated with the mycotoxin deoxynivalenol, commonly known as vomitoxin.

Variety resistance is one line of defense, but applying fungicides when weather conditions dictate is also important. Enter the Fusarium Head Blight Risk Assessment Tool at www.wheatscab.psu.edu. The effort, launched in 2010 through the Fusarium Head Blight Prediction Center, provides daily estimates of disease risk for 25 states east of the Rocky Mountains. This year, the outreach tool is being upgraded to send state-by-state
updates by text message.

Stephen Wegulo, University of Nebraska-Lincoln plant pathologist, notes that prediction aids take considerable resources to maintain. Scientists are trying to gather input from growers to justify the time, computing resources and funds needed to sustain the effort.


Wheat Gets Sweet on Sugarbeets

The National Association of Wheat Growers and the U.S. Wheat Associates submitted a joint  letter to USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in support of the partial deregulation of glyphosate-resistant sugar beets.

"We support Alternative Three as the specific regulatory vehicle used to allow Roundup Ready sugarbeets to be grown and processed into sugar during the period in which APHIS conducts an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)," the letter said.

"We are greatly concerned that actions taken by USDA may impact the ability for other crops to have access to the benefits of biotechnology in the future. Genetically-engineered, conventional and organic crops do readily coexist under far less strict standards than those that APHIS proposes in this case. We urge APHIS to promptly grant the Monsanto/KWS SAAT AG petition for partial deregulation and set forth an orderly process for cultivation until the EIS is complete.

"We are looking forward to having the opportunity to utilize biotechnology in wheat in the future to address critical needs in the areas of drought tolerance, nitrogen use efficiency and disease management. Maintaining a robust biotech regulatory system has an impact on the future for all growers."

Written by Pam Smith and Sara Brown

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