Unreliability Caused by High Levels of DON

CANADA - The Canadian Wheat Board reports, because of high levels of DON, visual inspection of winter wheat and spring wheat crops in fusarium affected areas of Manitoba is proving to be unreliable, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 19 November 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Fusarium reduces the end use desirability of grain, especially when feeding swine.

The Canadian Wheat Board reports harvest survey data shows fusarium head blight is the number one degrading factor this year in Manitoba's winter wheat and spring wheat crops.

Wheat Board agronomist Mike Grenier says infection levels vary between winter and spring wheat with the heaviest levels reported in winter wheat crops on the eastern side of the province, into the red river valley and through the Interlake while infection is more general in the spring wheat but with higher levels north of highway number one.

Mike Grenier-Canadian Wheat Board

In terms of grading, the grading is based on fusarium damaged kernel levels.

From the standpoint of what was observed in the field during the growing season, we didn't see that high of visible disease pressure and we didn't even see that bad in terms of the harvest samples that were coming off the combine.

But, once we started measuring DON within these samples it became apparent that there were substantial DON levels and it did vary somewhat by region and from sample to sample and farm to farm.

The fact that we have a situation where the fusarium damaged kernels are not that bad in the sample but yet there's elevated DON, that has been somewhat problematic this year.

When you look at the end use customer needs, when you have DON limits at one part per million or less, that does create some problems in terms of some of the markets you can put some of the product into.

Grenier adds fusarium levels this year in southwestern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan were fairly light.

He notes heading further west fusarium is reported from year to year but only at trace levels.

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