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Fusarium Infection Low in Manitoba Cereal Grains, Including Barley

by 5m Editor
21 September 2004, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1605. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1605

Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives says cool summer temperatures have helped keep fusarium infection levels low in the province's cereal crops this year.

Fusarium is a fungal infection that affects several crops, including cereal grains. Fusarium graminearum is of particular concern because it produces a mycotoxin which, when fed to livestock, especially swine, reduces performance.

Provincial Plant Pathologist David Kaminski says fusarium levels have been low in all cereal grains this year in Manitoba, especially barley.

"The risk factors that lead to infection are the presence of the fungus, and we have enough of it here built up over the years that it's always going there in susceptible crops and all of our barley crops are quite susceptible, and the environmental conditions that favor infection.

Those are heat and humidity that coincide with flowering of the crop. This year everybody realizes it has been very wet and at times quite humid but generally it has not been as warm as it usually is and often we find we're under the threshold for temperature for infection to develop when the crop is most sensitive.

It's still wise to have grain tested if it's going to be fed to animals because, of course, the tolerances for the major toxin are quite low.

Even though there are low levels of the disease out there, the amount of the toxin is not always very well correlated with the amount of disease in the field so it's still worth having a feed test done. "

Fusarium levels in Manitoba peaked in 2001 and 2002 before dropping off dramatically last year.

Kaminski says, while 2003 saw a lot of heat, there was no humidity from the middle of July on and that's what mitigated against the disease that year.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor