After the problems we had with head scab in 2010, growers are encouraged to be as prepared as possible to protect their valuable wheat crop against this disease and its toxin (vomitoxin) in 2011, according to Ohio State agronomists Pierce Paul and Dennis Mills. "It has been a rainy spring so far, and if the rains continue during the month of May, especially during the time the wheat crop is flowering, we could end up having more problems with head scab and vomitoxin this season. The best and only way to protect your crop against head scab once it is already in the field is to apply a triazole fungicide (Prosaro or Caramba) at flowering," write the specialists in the C.O.R.N. newsletter.
These products will not provide 100% control of scab, but will certainly reduce disease and vomitoxin levels, the authors say. However, the decision to apply a fungicide for head scab control is not always that straightforward. It has to be made at flowering, well before the disease develops and before the produce knows if it will actually develop.
The scab forecasting system (www.wheatscab.psu.edu) is an excellent tool to help guide fungicide application decisions. Based on the flowering date of his/her crop and the weather conditions leading up to flowering, a producer can use this tool to estimate the risk of scab occurring and make a timely fungicide application to protect the crop. In addition, the commentary section of the scab forecasting website provides up-to-date information on the state of the crop and disease risk, along with disease management recommendations.
Producers can now gain access to the commentaries from the forecasting system directly on their cell phones or in their emails, without having to go to the website. As the wheat crop develops and we begin to approach flowering, the commentaries will be updated regularly and sent directly to the emails or phones of those who sign up to receive the alerts. Once there is cell phone coverage and email access, you will receive the alerts anywhere in the country. You can then visit the website to see whether your crop is at risk and contact your state specialist for more information.
To sign up, click on this link: http://scabusa.org/fhb_alert.php and complete the form with your name, email address, cell phone number and other requested information. You can choose whether you want to receive the scab alert via email, test message (on your cell phone), or both. You can also choose whether you want to receive alerts from all over the country or only from the Mid West / Mid South Soft Winter Wheat region.