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Tell-tale Signs of Wheat Disease from Ephrata, WA, Trials

October 15, 2021
wheat field

Wheat trials at the Qualls Agricultural Laboratory Inc. and Grow More™ Experience site in Ephrata, WA.

As the spring wheat season drew to a close, the wheat block trials at the Ephrata, WA, Grow More Experience site were busy being examined for signs of disease pressure.

When planting the test fields, the wheat blocks were inoculated with Fusarium head blight (head scab), a devastating fungal disease that can cause potential yield loss and crop damage in wheat. Along with several competitor products, Miravis® Ace fungicide was applied at various timings, such as herbicide timing, flag leaf timing and initial flowering, to be evaluated for disease control and performance.

Comparison of Fusarium head blight-infected wheat stem and a healthy stem

Comparison of Fusarium head blight-infected wheat stem (right) and a healthy stem (left).

One of the tell-tale signs of Fusarium head blight in wheat is the health of the stem. When comparing 2 wheat heads in the above picture, you can see that the diseased stem has a greyish brown coloring toward the bottom of the head. Fusarium infection gets into the florets of wheat, spreading down into the base of the head and into the stem. This then cuts off the translocation of vital nutrients during grain fill, resulting in reduced kernel size, reduced test weight and reduced yield.

Fusarium head blight-infected wheat kernels or tombstones

Fusarium head blight-infected wheat kernels or tombstones.

Fusarium infections can also be seen in threshed-out kernels of wheat. As seen in the picture above, kernels infected by Fusarium head blight, or tombstones, appear greyish in color, resulting in low test weights. These pinched kernels with Fusarium infection will often be kicked out of the combine at harvest or carried over into next year’s seed crop, causing issues the following season.

Healthy wheat kernels from the Miravis Ace trial

Healthy wheat kernels from the Miravis Ace trial.

The threshed-out kernels above from a non-infected, healthy wheat head treated with Miravis Ace show plump kernels, resulting in high test weights and high-quality grain at harvest.

Here is Syngenta Agronomy Service Representative Dan Maxfield sharing more information about the benefits of Miravis Ace fungicide:

Miravis Ace fungicide, when applied to a fully emerged wheat head at initial flowering, continues to be active throughout the duration of pollination. The trial shows consistent control of Fusarium head blight in wheat throughout the length of flowering, compared to competitor products that wore off over a short period of time. Miravis Ace applied at initial flowering delivered great performance results, improved grain quality and increased profit potential.

If you’re in the Ephrata, WA, area, contact your Syngenta representative to visit the Grow More Experience site in person. The site offers demonstrations of Syngenta products compared to untreated and competitor products on a variety of crops, and agronomists are on hand to discuss crop management best practices.

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All photos and videos are either the property of Syngenta or are used with permission.

Syngenta hereby disclaims any liability for third party websites referenced herein.

Product performance assumes disease presence. Performance assessments are based upon results or analysis of public information, field observations and/or Syngenta evaluations. Trials reflect treatment rates commonly recommended in the marketplace.

The trademarks or service marks displayed or otherwise used herein are the property of a Syngenta Group Company. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.