Why is there less than expected in most areas?
2017 has given Ontario growers some surprising results on the fusarium front. Southern and Central Ontario are extremely low fusarium levels when the DON forecast model was telling us levels would be very high. The big question is – Why are fusarium levels lower than expected?
The answer to that question is a very interesting one. While we did have rain events at heading time, most of the rain event were very heavy ones. This helped to wash fusarium spores to the ground. We combined that with very cold night time temperatures during heading time. Most evenings were below 12 degrees celcius, some as low as 8 degrees celcius. I think the benefit of low nightime temperatures was the more important factor between the two.
Fusarium is like any other mould you have growing in basements or anywhere else. It needs two things to grow – Heat and humidity. Low nightime temperatures would make the mould restart the “growth” or spread process every morning and limited the disease from making it’s way into wheat heads.
While this was the case in Southern parts of the province, early indications are not so good from Eastern parts of the province. Less heavy rain events and more humidity appear to be creating levels similar to the forecast model there. Turn up the fans and hope for the best!
Fusarium is a hard disease to track and predict. I always believe we should have a three prong approach. The right variety, the right planting techniques to help with even emergence and the right spray nozzles and timing. Staying on top of these three items are sure to increase your odds of a good crop!