by Jim Lopshire, Paulding County
To assist wheat growers in protecting their wheat crop against this disease and potential vomitoxin levels in 2011, a head scab forecasting system has been created. The head scab forecasting system at www.wheatscab.psu.edu is an excellent tool to help guide fungicide application decisions. Based on the flowering date of the wheat crop and the weather conditions leading up to flowering, a producer can use this tool to estimate the risk factor of scab occurring and make a timely fungicide application to protect the crop. In addition, the commentary section of the scab forecasting website provides up-to-date information on the state of the crop and disease risk, along with disease management recommendations.
Producers can now gain access to the commentaries from the forecasting system directly on their cell phones or in their emails, without having to go to the website. As the wheat crop develops and begins to approach flowering, the commentaries will be updated regularly and sent directly to the emails or phones of those who sign up to receive the alerts. You can then visit the website to see whether your crop is at risk and contact your state specialist for more information.
To sign up, go to this link: http://scabusa.org/fhb_alert.php and complete the form with your name, email address, cell phone number and other requested information. You can choose whether you want to receive the scab alert via email, text message, or both. You can also choose whether you want to receive alerts from all over the country or only from the Mid West / Mid South Soft Winter Wheat region.
The best and only way to protect your crop against head scab is to apply a triazole fungicide at flowering. Triazole products such as Prosaro and Caramba will not provide 100% control of scab, but will certainly reduce the incidence of the disease and vomitoxin levels. However, the decision to apply a fungicide for head scab control is not an exact science. Fungicide application has to be made well before the producer knows if the disease will occur.
I have gone online to register for the head scab forecasting alert system. The online process was simple and easy to complete.