20th Anniversary of First Severe Outbreak of Fusarium Head Blight in Manitoba

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, MAFRI Cereal Crops Specialist

The first severe outbreak of Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) in Manitoba occurred in 1993.  In the United States, they call it the Great Scab Epidemic of 1993.   Here is an excerpt from the Cereals Disease Highlights – “Occurence of Fusarium Head Blight in Manitoba in 1993” – Volume 74 (1), 1994 of the Canadian Plant Disease Survey.  The complete report can found at http://phytopath.ca/download/cpds-archive/vol74/cpds1994.html

Southern Manitoba experienced the most severe epidemic of FHB on record in 1993. This likely resulted from the above normal levels of precipitation throughout the growing season. Blighted heads were found in 96.1% of wheat fields examined and occurred throughout the surveyed area. FHB was found in 97.9% of common, 88.9% of semi-dwarf, and 100.0% of durum wheat fields. Severity ranged from trace to 5% of heads infected west of Portage la Prairie and east of Beausejour. The more severely infested fields (20 to 80 % heads affected) were found in the Red River Valley and adjacent regions in crop districts 7 and 8.

According to the Canadian Grain Commission, 7% of Manitoba wheat graded sample account tombstone; 36% graded feed. Assuming that 50% of wheat graded feed resulted from FHB it is estimated that the cost of the epidemic was approximately 75 million dollars.





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