Fusarium graminearumis the big story in southern Alberta, especially in irrigated areas, according to Kelly Turkington, an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada plant pathologist based at Lacombe, Alta.
“Farmers need to be on top of this problem, testing seed, using full-strength seed treatments and planning their rotations accordingly,” says Turkington.
In the central Alberta regions and into the Peace, fusarium is much more difficult to detect and is not well established.
“This is in stark contrast to the south. Farmers should be very vigilant, testing seed and keeping fusarium out,” Turkington says. “Farmers should be very cautious about seed sources. With their typically short cereal-canola-cereal rotations, it’s critical farmers keep fusarium at bay.”
Turkington also highlights the impact weathering in 2010 will have on seed germination and vigour, as well as overall higher levels of leaf diseases last year.
“Diseases like net blotch and spot blotch kernel smudge in barley, septoria in wheat and smuts can cause seedling blight,” says Turkington. “A full disease screen will pinpoint what is on the seed.”