Skip to Content

Fusarium Head Blight a problem in area wheat

As I have been visiting wheat fields over that last days, I have noticed that our wheat has a significant amount of Fusarium Head Blight in it.

Here is a picture of a head showing the disease:

Fusarium Wheat Head Blight

You will notice the discoloration of the kernels and the orange/pink fungal growth on some of the kernels.


Here is another picture showing what the disease does to the kernels themselves:

Fusarium Wheat Head Blight Kernels

The kernel on the top right is a healthy kernel while the kernel on the bottom left has been affected by the disease.


Here are some comments from UGA Grains Agronomist Dr. Dewey Lee regarding the disease:

I believe yield loss will be severe in some fields depending on many things.  The infection process of FHB begins when the anthers extrude beyond the glumes and are infected by Fusarium.  It requires the type of weather we had this year, lots of rain, wet conditions during flowering with moderate temperatures.  Infected flowers either abort or develop kernels that are typically shriveled and may demonstrate a pink discoloration (from the mycelium).  The pathogen will produce a mycotoxin, DON (deoxynivalenol).  This fumonisin is often rejected in the market at level above 2 ppm.  Because of this, I urge you to encourage your growers to blow as much air as possible to take out the lower test weight/shriveled grain.

My suggestions is to harvest as early as possible and make sure to separate bad fields from your good fields.

Unfortunately, the disease has already done its damage.  All we can do now is do our best during harvest operations to ensure that we provide the market with good quality grain.

If you have any questions, contact your local county extension agent for more information.