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August 12, 2004
For immediate release

Fusarium Head Blight Requires Attention and Harvest Management

Agriculture, Fisheries, Aquaculture & Forestry

Fusarium head blight has been found recently in some Island wheat and barley fields. Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a common fungal disease of small grain cereals and is found on a wide range of hosts, including wheat, barley, oats, and rye.

Depending on the cereal type, effects of FHB include yield losses, shriveled and light weight kernels, and mycotoxin contamination. The mycotoxin which is produced, DON, is a toxin which can reduce animal feed intake and performance.

Dr. Richard Martin, Research Scientist at the Crops and Livestock Research Centre in Charlottetown, noted that while it is too late in the year for any foliar spray to be effective against FHB, management practices such as high wind and a slower ground speed with the combine when harvesting can be used to remove light kernels (particularly in wheat) from the harvested crop. These practices were found to be effective in 2003 when there were FHB levels similar to those being observed this year.

Two fact sheets can be consulted for more detailed information. Fusarium Head Blight of Cereals in Atlantic Canada gives information about symptoms, disease cycle, mycotoxins and management. Fusarium Head Blight in Wheat & Barley includes management steps and information on feeding guidelines. Both fact sheets can be found online at

The fact sheets can also be obtained from District Agricultural Offices or by calling 1-866-PEI-FARM (734-3276).

Producers who are faced with managing some level of FHB in their crop should consider taking representative samples during harvest. They should monitor use of the crop and consider testing to determine the level of mycotoxin (DON) in the crop.

Three laboratories that provide testing for DON levels are:

Agricultural Certification Services, 1030 Lincoln Road, Fredericton, NB E3B 8B7, phone: (506) 459-0293, fax: (506) 457-0769,, contact; Dr. Mathuresh Singh.

Agralab Plus, Co-op Atlantic, P.O. Box 750, Moncton, NB E1C 8N5, phone: (506) 858-6319, fax: (506) 858-6479, email:, contact: Nancy Boyer

Canadian Grain Commission, 120 Wellington St. West, Chatham ON N7M 5K3, phone (519) 436-3190, fax: (519) 436-3195, email:, contact: Tonya Tales

The lab being used should be contacted as soon as a decision is made to test in order to verify the required sample protocols, costs, and payment methods.

For further information please contact the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, Aquaculture and Forestry at 1-866-PEI-FARM (734-3276).

Media Contact: Island Information Service
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