Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) overwinters in soil, grass and crop residue, as well as in the seed. Spores are produced first on stem infections at the base of the plant and spread by rain or wind to infect flower parts, glumes or other portions of the head. As warm, moist weather develops, spores spread by rain and winds infect the florets. Continuous moisture and warm weather (25-30ºC or 77-86ºF) are ideal for infection when the grain is flowering. If weather conditions are right, blight symptoms are visible within three days after infection. Infected heads ripen prematurely. If the stem of the seed head is infected, everything above that point will be white. Infected plants also produce seed with vomitoxin (deoxynivalenol or DON).
Look for a ring of pink or salmon colour at the base of the florets. Only partially-filled seeds will be found in the infected spikelets. Shrivelled grains may appear tan to white, with traces of pink on the seeds.
For foliar protection against Fusarium Head Blight an application of Proline™ or Folicur® can be used. Use clean fusarium-free seed. Remove crop residue and include non-susceptible crops in rotation to reduce inoculum. There are no fully resistant cultivars but disease resistance between cultivars varies.