To Make Plans to Prevent <\n>Wheat Disease Next Year
Most of us are well aware that fusarium head blight, or head scab, and the toxin that can accompany it — deoxynivalenol, also known as vomitoxin — can be serious problems in Pennsylvania wheat.
Farmers have done a good job getting the right fungicides on at the right time in recent years. But Extension plant pathologist Alyssa Collins tells us this gets us only about halfway to where we could be with toxin reduction.
If you really want to get serious about clean wheat, you’ll want to start with selecting a resistant variety right out of the gate.
Here’s how this disease works. The fungus blows in as a spore from where it survived the winter on some leftover plant residue.
When the weather is mild and humid, that spore can germinate and enter the plant through an open flower. That fungus can then infect the developing wheat kernel, causing it to abort or reducing its quality.
Also — and we don’t yet understand all the factors involved — the fungus may produce a toxin as a byproduct of its growth and metabolism. The level of infection does not necessarily correspond directly to the amount of toxin in the harvested grain.
Keeping these things in mind, we can use some information gathered over the last few years on wheat varieties to inform our seed selection.
When the information is available, it’s important to use the deoxynivalenol, or DON, levels on each of these varieties rather than just a scab resistance rating. That’s because it is possible to have a large amount of DON even when you have a small amount of scab.
A variety that is resistant to the development of the toxin may even be more important than one that shows fewer of the white heads.
For information about managing fusarium head blight with variety selection, there is an excellent article by Nathan Kleczewski at the University of Delaware that can be found at http://extension.udel.edu/weeklycropupdate/?p=7283.
In these wheat nurseries, the researchers account for differences in flower timing and environmental conditions by misting the plots, so they always have a disease-conducive environment.
As you might expect, it is difficult to get excellent agronomic traits and high levels of disease resistance in the same variety — otherwise, we’d all be growing that one. But by cross referencing the table from Delaware with the Pennsylvania Wheat Performance Trial closest to you, which can be found at http://extension.psu.edu/plants/crops/grains/small/trial-reports/2014/downloads, you may be able to find some options that give you at least some DON resistance while preserving some of the other qualities you want.
To Learn About the New Farm Bill
This past February, the Agricultural Act of 2014 was signed into law. Commonly referred to as the Farm Bill, this legislation authorizes or modifies hundreds of programs.
With the passage of the law, the USDA is now tasked with implementing it. As such, USDA’s Farm Service Agency will soon issue regulations and guidance documents that further spell out the details of specific programs.
On Tuesday, Aug. 26, Penn State Extension will hold a brief midday meeting to take a look at the 2014 Farm Bill’s impact on cash field crops, such as corn, soybeans and wheat as we see it today. This event will features Glenn “Art” Barnaby of Kansas State University.
Barnaby is considered an international leader in researching the use of risk management tools to maximize farm revenues.
Having spent his entire career in the crop insurance and federal farm policy arena, Barnaby brings a unique insight to the implications we face from the new Farm Bill.
We have had Barnaby as a speaker before and appreciate his depth of knowledge as he uses real examples to illustrate concepts.
For the new Farm Bill signup, growers will have to make a decision whether to enroll in Agricultural Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage, and there are multiple things to consider when making these decisions.
During the presentation, Barnaby will break down these crop programs and review the factors producers will want to think about when making enrollment decisions.
The signup period is not yet known but looks to be before midwinter. We believe the more we learn about these significant farm management tools the better our signup decisions will be.
This event will be held at the Berks County Ag Center, 1238 County Welfare Road, Leesport, Pa. There will be coffee at 9:30 a.m., the program 10 a.m.-noon and lunch after that.
There is no fee to participate as the event is co-sponsored by Penn State Extension and USDA’s Risk Management Agency.
To attend, people are asked to register at http://extension.psu.edu/business/farm/events/midday-meeting-impacts-of-the-2014-farm-bill-on-cash-field-crops so organizers can provide adequate handout materials and food.
For more information, visit http://extension.psu.edu/berks, or contact John Berry at johnberry<\@>psu.edu or 610-391-9840.
Quote of the Week
“If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values — that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.
Leon Ressler is district director of Penn State Cooperative Extension for Chester, Lancaster and Lebanon counties.