Pest Profile: Wheat Scab

Scab has been nagging growers for more than 100 years. Now, Prosaro fungicide is providing some relief.

Fusarium head blight (FHB), commonly known as scab, is a destructive fungal disease that infects the developing grain heads of wheat and barley. Caused by several species of the fungal pathogen Fusarium, scab has been a headache for the cereals industry since the turn of the century.

During wheat scab epidemics, yield losses can exceed 50 percent. It is important that growers are familiar with this potentially damaging disease and the latest technologies designed to reduce scab development in their crops.

In a three-year period, scab was responsible for nearly $900 million in yield losses and price discounts.

The Economic Costs of Fusarium Head Blight

Fusarium head blight caused $870 million in direct yield losses and price discounts from 1998 through 2000. The three-year combined losses exceeded the annual value of all barley and oat production in the United States, which was $797 million in 2000. A scab epidemic in the Southeastern U.S. caused millions of dollars in yield loss in 2003.

High levels of Fusarium head blight will not only result in significant yield loss, but also can reduce the quality and feeding value of the grain—both serious problems. The fungi that cause wheat scab may produce mycotoxins that are toxic to livestock and humans, thus dramatically lowering the market value of the crop. Further losses to growers have occurred because of poor test weights, floret sterility, restricted crop rotations, limited variety selection and the cost of control measures.

When conditions are favorable for the development of wheat scab, growers should consider applying a foliar fungicide. Favorable conditions typically include regular rainfall and excessive humidity.

High levels of Fusarium head blight will not only result in significant yield loss, but also can reduce the quality and feeding value of the grain—both serious problems.
In extensive U.S. field trials, Prosaro has proven effective in fighting scab and delivering average yield increases of 7 bu/A regardless of weather conditions or disease pressure.

Protect Crop Yields and Quality

Every acre counts. Seed, fertilizer and fuel are just some of the many costs growers have when producing high-quality crops. When the threat of a potentially devastating disease like scab exists, risk mitigation tools are critical to maximizing your return on investment.

Extensive testing at multiple locations in the U.S. over several years by university Extension specialists, private producers and Crop Science researchers has shown that Prosaro fungicide provides out-standing control of head scab and foliar diseases in wheat. Prosaro stops the penetration of the fungus into the plant and reduces deoxynivalenol (DON) levels. This is a distinct advantage over using strobilurin fungicides known to increase DON levels if used at early flowering. (DON is a mycotoxin linked to scab.) The curative action of Prosaro halts the spread of leaf disease to healthy plant tissue, and its residual ac-tivity protects the leaf against new infections. By protecting crops from both scab and leaf diseases, Pro-saro maximizes yield and profit potential.

Discuss Prosaro with your local Bayer representative.

Works Cited

  • De Wolf, Erick. "Disease Information." Fusarium Head Blight Prediction Center. The Pennsylvania State University, 2003. Web. 11 Aug 2011.
  • Lipps, Patrick. "Head Blight or Scab of Small Grains." Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet. Ohio State University Extension,1996. Web. 11 Aug 2011.
  • "Fusarium Focus." U.S. Wheat & Barley Scab Initiative. 3.2 (2001): 1-3. Web. 11 Aug. 2011.
  • Bayer CropScience. Prosaro Product Bulletin. Research Triangle Park: Vance Publishing, 2011. Web.
  •  Cowger, Christina, and Abbey L. Sutton. "The Southeastern U.S. Fusarium Head Blight Epidemic of 2003." Plant Management Network, 2005. Web. 7 Nov 2011.

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