Seminole Crop E News

Agricultural News for Farmers and Agribusiness in SW Georgia

Wheat Head Scab

Posted by romeethredge on May 1, 2014

Head Scab on Wheat

I’m seeing more Fusarium head scab in wheat. It starts out like this first photo from Justin Ballew, Decatur County Agent, from last week that shows the pinkish/orangeish growth and then progresses to the white seed heads further down. I took the other photos this week. Thankfully the problem doesn’t spread, so after the flowering period, there will be no new infection. The problem has to do with time of flowering and weather conditions during that timeframe. It may be worse in a rotation with corn.

DSC00333 _DSC5334 _DSC5331 _DSC5330

 Historically, according to UGA Plant pathologist, Alfredo Martinez Espinosa, scab (Fusarium spp /teleomorphs Gibberella spp and Microdochium nivale) infections have been extremely low in Georgia. “The pathogen requires warm (78-86 F consistently), humid/wet weather coinciding with wheat at flowering stages for infection to occur. Fusarium conidia and/or ascospores infection are most common at wheat anthesis.

Recently, while the weather has been wet across the state, the temperatures have remained low and therefore diminishing greatly the risk for infection. It is still worth to scout for the presence of scab in areas where flowering have coincided with wet/moist weather. Scab is best recognized on emerged immature heads where one or more or the entire head appears prematurely bleached. Usually a pinkish/orange mycelium is present, which will develop dark fruiting bodies (perithecia). Diseased, bleached spikelets are sterile or contain shriveled/discolored seed (usually with a tint of pink or orange).

An additional problem is that the fungus produces a compound in the grain that may be toxic to livestock and man. For control, avoid rotation with other cereal crops, specifically corn (Fusarium graminearum also causes ear and stalk on corn) or sorghum. “

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2 Responses to “Wheat Head Scab”

  1. […] week around Bainbridge and Seminole Ag Agent, Rome Ethredge, posted some photos and information on Fusarium Head Scab on his blog. The problem has to do with weather conditions during  time of flowering and it […]

  2. […] around Bainbridge and Seminole Ag Agent, Rome Etheredge, posted some photos and information on Wheat Head Scab on his blog. The problem has to do with weather conditions during  time of flowering and it […]

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