(Rural Roots Canada) – Farmers across the Prairies now have access to advanced risk maps for Fusarium head blight (FHB), a persistent threat to cereal crops. 

This newly launched tool offers assessments of Fusarium head blight Index (FHBi), Fusarium-damaged kernels (FDK), and deoxynivalenol (DON) risk levels in spring wheat, winter wheat, barley, and durum based on weather conditions.

The tool leverages real-time weather data from over 500 stations, including those operated by Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Manitoba AgWeather Program, Saskatchewan Public Safety, Alberta Climate Information System, and Metos Canada. Its risk algorithms are uniquely homegrown, built from research data gathered from 600 plot sites across 15 locations in Western Canada annually from 2019 to 2021 and tested in over 300 producer fields throughout the same period.

Courtesy: Alberta Grains

Disease severity risk varies significantly by location and year due to fluctuating weather conditions before flowering. This tool aims to help farmers make more informed decisions regarding the application of fungicides, balancing financial and environmental considerations.

The FHB risk mapping tool can be found at prairiefhb.ca.

READ MORE: Managing Fusarium Head Blight after harvest

The risk maps were developed through a collaborative three-year research initiative led by Dr. Paul Bullock at the University of Manitoba. The Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, Manitoba Agriculture, Manitoba Crop Alliance (MCA), Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (Sask Wheat), Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley), and Alberta Grains were all involved in its creation. 

“The Faculty is very pleased to release this important risk management tool for the agriculture industry,” said Dr. Martin Scanlon, dean of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the University of Manitoba. 

“The project is a great example of multi-institutional collaboration, where the combined skills and talents of both federal and provincial agricultural personnel, plus university collaborators, has facilitated research outcomes that could not have been achieved otherwise.”

Alberta Grains executive director Michael Flynn is confident the tool will give wheat and barley farmers the information they need to make an informed decision about how to manage FHB. 

“The updated FHB risk maps provide information based on local environmental conditions in an easily accessible and user-friendly format that will greatly benefit producers across the province,” says Flynn. 

The tool is freely accessible via smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer.

For more information, click here.

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