Response of Spring Wheat and Barley Varieties to Fusarium Head Blight

Response of Spring Wheat and Barley Varieties to Fusarium Head Blight


Written by: Anne Kirk and David Kaminski, Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development

The Manitoba Crop Variety Evaluation Team (MCVET) has been evaluating the effect of Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) on spring wheat and barley varieties under conditions of natural infection for a number of years.  Resistance level to FHB, as presented in Seed Manitoba, is determined through inoculated trials conducted during the three year period the variety is tested through the variety registration system.   Post-registration FHB analysis provides an opportunity to compare fusarium damaged kernels (FDK) and deoxynivalenol (DON) accumulation among registered varieties over a number of locations in Manitoba.  Due to variety turnover in MCVET trials, on-going analysis is required to evaluate the response of newly registered varieties.

In 2019, DON accumulation was low.  At the spring wheat sites, mean DON accumulation was zero at eight of the 13 sites; DON ranged from 0.2 to 0.7 ppm at the remaining five sites (Table 1). Mean DON accumulation at the barley sites was zero at five of the 11 sites, and ranged from 0.1 – 0.8 ppm at the remaining sites (Table 2).  Varieties with the highest FDK and DON levels were generally rated as Susceptible (S) or Moderately Susceptible (MS) for FHB resistance (Table 1 and 2); however, there is variability in FDK and DON within each of the five resistance categories. The wheat variety RedNet has a Moderately Resistant (MR) FHB rating, but had the highest FDK and DON levels at Boissevain and Thornhill.  This was the first year that RedNet was included in MCVET trials; further post-registration FHB testing will determine if the MR rating is appropriate.

Although FHB is highly influenced by environmental conditions, there are management options that should be used to mitigate the risk of FHB.  The first step is to select varieties with improved resistance to FHB.  Resistance ratings published in Seed Manitoba is a good first place to look for disease resistance information.  Caution must be used with one year of data, as presented in these tables.    Other management strategies include crop rotation and fungicide application.

Special thanks to: Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association for providing funding to conduct FDK and DON analysis; SGS BioVision Seed Labs who conducted the analysis; and the Manitoba Crop Variety Evaluation Team and contractors who provided the harvested samples.

Table 1 (below)

Table 2 (below)