Will storage of infected grain for over 1 year reduce Fusarium spp. infection and DON levels?

The viability of various Fusarium spp. during storage is dependent on the storage conditions, with temperature playing a key role. Scientific studies have demonstrated that Fusarium infection levels will be reduced when infected grain is stored for at least 6-9 months at a constant temperature of 25 °C and where either relative humidity is >62% or seed moisture content is at least 10-14%. One study demonstrated elimination of Fusarium graminearum when corn seed was stored in sealed containers at 30°C and a seed moisture content of 14%. However, the same is not true for infected grain stored at cooler temperatures (less than 15°C) which are more consistent with the recommendations for grain storage on the Canadian Prairies. At temperatures below 15C the viability of the pathogen (Fusarium spp.) is unchanged, unchanged, especially under drier conditions, making long term storage of infected grain a poor strategy for reducing Fusarium infection levels. Also, if the grain is to be used for seed, prolonged storage of infected grain at higher temperatures and moisture levels may result in reduced vigour and germination rates.

The mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) in Fusarium infected grain is also unaffected by long-term storage, regardless of the temperature. Under safe storage conditions changes in DON levels would be unlikely.

Submitted by

Holly Derksen, Field Crop Pathologist, Manitoba Agriculture

Barbara Ziesman, Provincial Specialist, Plant Disease, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

Michael Harding, Research Scientist, Plant Pathology, Alberta Agriculture & Forestry

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If my grain has high levels of DON can I still use it for seed?

Deoxynivalenol (DON) is a mycotoxin produced by the fungus that causes fusarium head blight (FHB). The importance of determining DON levels in your harvested grain relates to the use of that product for human/animal consumption. DON is poisonous to humans so it is carefully monitored in grain used for food. Additionally, it is poisonous to livestock and can cause feed refusal and poor weight gain in livestock if present above recommended levels.

The relationships between fusarium-damaged kernels (FDK), seed infection by Fusarium spp., and DON levels are not consistent. Just because FHB was observed in the field and/or FDK were observed in a harvested sample it does not necessarily mean that DON is present. Conversely, the lack of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that DON is not present. The latter situation is often the case in years where conditions are conducive for Fusarium infection after anthesis. These DON levels are not accounted for when grading grain is based solely on the percentage of FDK.

While DON levels may affect the suitability of harvested grain as food or feed, seedling health and seed germination is affected by the extent of infection of seed by hyphae of Fusarium graminearum.  Thus, the level of infection by Fusarium spp., including F. graminearum, is a better measure of whether or not the grain should be used for seed in a subsequent season.

Recommendations:

For purposes of replanting, growers should have seed tested by an accredited lab for germination, vigour, and Fusarium infection levels. Based on this information growers can determine whether or not a grain sample is appropriate for planting (with or without a seed treatment) and whether the seeding rate would need to be adjusted. (See future questions in this series that will address whether or not to plant Fusarium-infected seed.)

For purposes of marketing and livestock feeding, growers should have grain tested for DON levels by an accredited lab. Grain companies and buyers are increasingly requesting information on DON levels as opposed to just FDK.

Submitted by:

Holly Derksen, Field Crop Pathologist, Manitoba Agriculture

Barbara Ziesman, Provincial Specialist, Plant Disease, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

Michael Harding, Research Scientist, Plant Pathology, Alberta Agriculture & Forestry

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Is Manitoba’s Winter Wheat Crop Set Up to Survive Winter?

The most common question I receive over the winter months related to winter wheat production is “How is the cold weather/warm weather/lack of snow impacting my winter wheat?” Unfortunately, there are no easy answers over the winter months as we typically have to wait until spring when winter wheat breaks dormancy and stand establishment is known.

However, there can be a few key factors during fall establishment and weather conditions over the winter months that can provide guidance in terms of assessing weather and its impact to Manitoba’s winter wheat prior to the crop actively resuming growth next spring.

First step: record crop condition prior to winter. The crop stage and health/vigour of the crop as it heads into winter will provide an indication if the crop has a high chance of surviving the winter with minimal winterkill or winter injury. Ideally plants should be at the 3 leaf to 1 tiller stage and have well-developed crown tissue (and of course established into adequate standing stubble to ensure snow catch). And remember, the stage of crop development in the fall influences not only winter survival, but also yield potential, crop competitiveness, maturity and the risk of infection with diseases such as rust and fusarium head blight.

Second step: note the weather after seeding and prior to winter. Cool conditions in the fall where plants grow for 4 to 5 weeks, followed by 4 to 8 weeks (October to November) of growth that allow plant to acclimate and vernalize, is the ideal situation (relates back to an optimum seeding date of the first couple weeks of September). Read more about cold acclimation and vernalization here: http://cropchatter.com/winter-wheat-survival-impacted-by-fall-management-decisions-the-weather/. Another key weather factor is open field conditions with little or no snow cover until freeze-up as this allows soil temperatures to gradually decline to freezing levels.

If your winter wheat crop and the fall weather met the above conditions, your crop is likely well-positioned to survive Manitoba’s winter.

Third step: record any weather stresses over the winter months. In the fall, winter wheat producers can take all the necessary steps to set their crop up to survive winter with minimal winterkill or injury. However, it is often the winter/early spring weather in Manitoba that can impact winter survival.  Producers should take notes of cold snaps (how long they lasted, when did they occur) and the snow cover during those events to gauge potential impact to their winter wheat crop.

Regardless of the amount of cold acclimation, we typically need to receive good snow cover to protect the crop from the sustained cold temperatures normally seen in January and February in Manitoba. The ideal situation would be a minimum of 4 inches of trapped snow cover through December to early March to buffer soil temperature changes and provide protection to the crown tissue.

To assist with recording any soil temperature stresses, there is real-time monitoring of soil temperatures in the four winter wheat fields across Manitoba (see http://cropchatter.com/monitoring-real-time-soil-temperatures-in-manitoba-winter-wheat-fields/). The data will also be made available in the near future to the Winter Cereal Survival Model website at https://www.wheatworkers.ca/wcsm.php which can provide additional information on potential injury due to cold soil temperatures.

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

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Can Stripe Rust Overwinter in Manitoba?

Short Answer: Yes.

Long Answer: Normally in Manitoba, the majority of our inoculum blows in from the central US states by what is known as the “Puccinia Pathway”. However, according to Dr. Brent McCallum, a Research Scientist with AAFC in Morden, MB, there was evidence of both stripe and leaf rust overwintering on winter wheat in Manitoba a few years ago but at such low levels it wasn’t a concern. Dr. Kelly Turkington, a Research Scientist with AAFC in Lacombe, AB, also indicated overwintering of stripe rust occurred in Alberta and parts of Saskatchewan in 2010/11 where there were measurable losses. In that particular year, there was a breakdown of resistance in the 2010 planted winter wheat crop and that led to higher infections into 2011.

So yes, stripe rust can overwinter. However, the ability of stripe rust to overwinter in Manitoba, or elsewhere, would depend on factors such as the severity of the winter and snowfall amounts.

If stripe rust is seen in the fall, take note of the variety and its resistance rating. Although nothing can be done about variety selection at this point, in the future consider stripe rust resistance when evaluating and selecting winter wheat varieties. Genetics….it’s a fast and easy way to protect your crop from disease pressure!

If winter weather conditions allow for overwintering of stripe rust, it could provide a local source of inoculum early in the spring – as early as the crop starts actively growing. A cool, wet spring could also favor spread and infection of stripe rust, not only to winter wheat but to other crops such as spring wheat.

If you do see stripe rust this fall in your winter wheat crop, mark those fields as ones to watch as soon as the crop breaks dormancy next spring. If stripe rust does overwinter, a fungicide application may be necessary.

Should a fall fungicide application be considered?

There has been some recent research conducted looking at the yield response and economics of a fall fungicide application in winter wheat. From 2011 to 2013, researchers from AAFC conducted a study across Western Canada looking at a variety of management factors, including one looking at a fall fungicide application. Results were recently reported in Top Crop Manager at http://www.topcropmanager.com/business-management/improving-winter-wheat-19554. The following statements are from the article.

In regards to the fall fungicide treatment, “the study showed some benefit from the fall foliar fungicide treatment, however the increase was small and resulted in decreased net returns,” says Turkington (who was involved with the study). “In areas with confirmed stripe rust in the fall, the yields gains were a bit better. However the cost of application is prohibitive at this point compared to no application. ”

More research is currently underway by Turkington and Dr. Randy Kutcher (University of Saskatchewan) looking at a fall fungicide application, a spring fungicide application at flag leaf emergence, and a dual application (one in the fall and one in the spring).  “The preliminary results after the first two years aren’t showing much of a benefit from the fall foliar fungicide application, similar to our recent study,” Turkington says. “Some of the results suggest a dual fall and spring application does not provide any additional benefit over a spring application in Western Canada.”

So for this fall, don’t pull out the sprayer if you see stripe rust in your winter wheat.  But, be ready to scout in the spring! And look for more updates to current winter wheat research underway across Western Canada.

Submitted by: Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist and Holly Derksen, Field Crops Pathologist, Manitoba Agriculture; with assistance from Dr. Brent McCallum, AAFC Morden and Dr. Kelly Turkington, AAFC Lacombe.

Manitoba Agriculture on Twitter: @MBGovAg
Manitoba Agriculture on YouTube: www.youtube.com/ManitobaAgriculture
Manitoba Agriculture website: www.manitoba.ca/agriculture

 

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Are Herbicides Still Effective After a Fall Frost?

Fall is a great time to control perennials such as Canada thistle, perennial sow thistle and dandelion. As temperatures cool, nutrients move from the leaves down into the roots and if a herbicide can be taken up and translocated with those nutrients, it can equal better control. Glyphosate and/or the group 4s are examples of herbicides that provide effective fall control of perennials.

A frost event though, can kill some weeds or can damage leaf tissue which will reduce herbicide uptake and reduce the level of weed control. Within the next few days after the frost, you need to assess the target weeds in the areas that you want to obtain control – are the weeds still growing?  How much leaf tissue has been damaged?

Light frost: A light frost (0 to -3°C) can actually improve weed control by increasing herbicide translocation to the root.  However, duration of the frost also plays a role.  Check your weeds for frost damage if you plan on a herbicide application after a light frost.  Herbicides can only be taken up and translocated by weeds that are healthy and actively growing.

If you do spray – spray in the afternoon when temperatures are warm and sunny, as this will help with herbicide uptake.   You’re looking for daytime temperatures of ~8 to 10°C for at least 2 hours. Use rates appropriate to the stage and time of year – fall applications of glyphosate are recommended at a higher rate than when controlling weeds pre-harvest.

Hard frost: Depending on the damage, a hard frost (≤ -5°C) can put an end to (effective) post-harvest weed control. However, if the plant leaves are still shiny green with minimal leaf tissue damage (i.e. not blackened/brown or brittle) or if less than 40% of the plant has more serious leaf tissue damage (i.e. blackened/brown or brittle) there may still be a window to make a herbicide application. Wait at least 48 hours before assessing frost damage after a hard frost.

If you do spray – read the ‘If you spray’ paragraph above, it still applies.  You need those daytime temperatures to hit ~8 to 10°C for at least 2 hours. In addition, consider your coverage – higher water volumes may improve uptake in more heavily damaged weeds.

One last thing – look at the forecast for the next week following the application.  If daytime temperatures are below 8°C and/or if night-time temperatures are forecasted to continually be below freezing, it may be too late to make the application to get the economic control you are looking for.

Submitted by: Jeanette Gaultier, Provincial Weed Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

Visit Manitoba Agriculture Crops webpage for more current topics: www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/seasonal-reports/current-crop-topics.html#agronomy; or the Manitoba Agriculture Weeds webpage for more information on fall control of dandelion and quackgrass: www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/weeds/.

 

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What areas of Manitoba received the most rainfall in early October 2016?

The following precipitation maps are provided by Manitoba Agriculture’s Ag Weather Program.  The displayed map shows Total Accumulated Precipitation from October 2 to October 4, 2016.

Picture1

 

 

 

 

 

Follow Manitoba Agriculture on Twitter at @MBGovAg to get these seasonal reports and more.

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So we had a Frost on our Soybean, Now what?

The first step in accessing frost damage is asking how cold it was last night. A light frost of -1°C for short durations may clip off a few off the top leaves with no effect on yield. The concern begins when a killing frost at least -2°C occurs for an extended period of time. In this situation you will see frozen leaves and pods throughout the canopy.  This may cause quality issues and yield reduction if the crop has not reached full maturity.

See the latest MB Ag Weather latest frost map: http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/weather/pubs/minimum-air-temperature.pdf

What growth stage are your beans at, see http://www.manitobapulse.ca/soybean-staging-guide/ as a reference.

A killing frost at the R8 growth stage will see no yield or quality loss. The R8 stage is when the leaves have dropped off, all pods are brown, and seeds rattle within the pods when plants are shaken.

If however your beans are at the R7 growth stage, (which means one pod on the plant has reached its mature color), research has shown yield loss can range from 5-10 % dependent upon the severity of the frost. Quality issues in the way of green seed may also occur.

Finally, if your beans are at the R6 growth stage-(this is where pods containing a green seed that fills the pod cavity at one of the four uppermost nodes on main stem), yield losses can range from 20-30 %.  You will also have green seed issues which can also lead to marketing concerns.

There are a few areas in Manitoba where the beans are at the end of this R6 growth stage.  Most of the beans in Manitoba are at the R7-R8 growth stage. A light frost should not affect yield and quality for these beans. If beans were at the R6 growth stage and a hard frost occurred yield and quality losses would be noticeable.

IMG_1774

Picture: Light frost damage on soybeans near Hamiota, 2016.

Photo from L.Grenkow, Manitoba Pulse Soybean Growers

Submitted by: Dennis Lange, Industry Development Specialist-Pulses, Manitoba Agriculture

 

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How Many Days Until My Grain Corn Reaches Maturity?

The 2016 season has seen normal to above normal accumulation of corn heat units (CHU), with a range of 95 to 117% of normal from May 1st to August 14th: Percent of Normal Accumulated Corn Heat Units. So as we inch closer to September, producers start to wonder when their grain corn may reach physiological maturity (R6).  At this stage, kernels have reached maximum dry matter accumulation and kernel moisture can range between 30 to 35% (but can vary by hybrid and environment).  But more importantly, at physiological maturity the grain corn crop will be safe from a killing frost.

The following table was modified slightly from the original table found in NDSU’s Crop & Pest Report August 8, 2013.  The table relates calendar days to corn kernel development and yield in general terms.

Table 1: Relationship between corn growth stages and calendar days to maturity, yield loss, and other kernel characteristics

Days to Maturity Grain Corn

Source: NDSU Crop & Pest Report – August 8, 2013

The ranges listed are fairly large in order to take into account variances in temperature (climate) and the relative maturities of the hybrids grown (genetics).   It is also important to remember that the various plant stages and the duration of those stages can also be influenced by soil fertility, cultural practices (plant populations) and water availability (dry conditions can hasten maturity).

Source:  NDSU Crop & Pest Report August 8, 2013 http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/cpr/plant-science/characteristics-of-late-maturing-corn-08-08-13

Submitted by: Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

Manitoba Agriculture website: www.manitoba.ca/agriculture
Manitoba Agriculture on Twitter: @MBGovAg
Manitoba Agriculture on YouTube: www.youtube.com/ManitobaAgriculture

 

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Why am I seeing Tillers in my Corn?

I have been receiving a few calls over the season regarding tillering in corn. So I figured a Crop Chatter post based on an article I wrote back in 2005 would be good to answer some questions. Is it only due to plant populations? What could be other causes? What effect will tillering have on crop growth and yield potential?

What are Tillers? And What Causes Them?  Tillers are lateral branches that form at below ground nodes. Although tiller buds form at each below ground node, the number of tillers that develop is determined by plant population and spacing, soil fertility, early season growing conditions, and the genetic background of the hybrid.

  • Plant Population: Many hybrids will take advantage of available soil nutrients and moisture by forming one or more tillers where stands are thin in the row or at the ends of rows. However, excessive tillering may indicate problems with stand density and distribution. If tillering is associated with row gaps and less than optimal plant populations, these are the conditions which need to be corrected to ensure optimal yields.
  • Soil Fertility: Tillers are most likely to develop when soil fertility and moisture supplies are ample during the first few weeks of the growing season. They are usually visible by the 6-leaf stage of development.
  • Genetics: Hybrids with a strong tillering trait may form one or more tillers on every plant even at relatively high populations if the environment is favorable early in the growing season. If a particular hybrid shows excellent yield potential and also produces extensive tillering under some growing conditions, it should not be avoided.
  • Weather Conditions: Hail, frost, and flooding injury that destroy or damage the growing point early in the growing season can also result in tiller development and non-productive plants.

What is the Effect on Yield Potential? When farmers see extensive tillering in their corn hybrids, they often express concern that the tillering will have a detrimental effect of crop performance (that the tillers will “suck” nutrients from the main plant and thereby reduce yields). As a result, tillers are often referred to a “suckers”. However, research has shown that tillers usually have little influence on grain yields and what effects they do have are generally beneficial. Recent studies have found that there is little movement of plant sugars between the main plant and tillers before tasselling.

After silking and during grain fill, substantial amounts of plant sugars may move from earless tillers to ears on the main plant. When there are ears on both the tiller (often called ‘tassel-ears’) and the main plant, little movement of plant sugars occurs. The main plant and tillers act independently, each receiving sugars from their own leaves. The ‘tassel-ears’ that tillers may produce, therefore have no impact on the ear development of the main plant as was once thought and don’t contribute to yield.

Submitted by: Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

Manitoba Agriculture website: www.manitoba.ca/agriculture
Manitoba Agriculture on Twitter: @MBGovAg
Manitoba Agriculture on YouTube: www.youtube.com/ManitobaAgriculture
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HOW DO I CONTROL VOLUNTEER CANOLA IN MY SOYBEAN?

First ask yourself if you need to control the volunteer canola in your crop.  Research by Dr. Rob Gulden and graduate student Paul Gregoire at the University of Manitoba (U of M) showed that volunteer canola had little impact on soybean yield when there are less than:

  • 3 plants/m2 in solid seeded or narrow row soybean, or
  • 1.5 plants/m2 in wide row soybean.

Although economic thresholds (ET) such as these don’t consider seed return, this is generally not a concern for canola given it’s prevalence in our crop rotations.

If your volunteer canola populations exceed the ET, the U of M researchers also assessed the effectiveness of various post-emergent herbicides (Table 1).  Control of volunteer canola by the herbicides listed in table 1 are based on comparisons of treated research plots.  It’s unlikely that any of these options will provide full control of bolting or flowering volunteer canola.

Table 1: Ranking and application timing of volunteer canola herbicides in soybean

Vol Canola Control in Soybeans

*Will not control CLEARFIELD canola volunteers

**Registered in the Red River Valley only

Another consideration: use of these herbicides on larger volunteer canola may only set plants back, resulting in later flowering canola that may cause issues during soybean harvest.

Previous research by Dr. Gulden has shown that one of the best ways to manage volunteer canola is by limiting weed seedbank additions from canola harvest losses. Slower combine speeds while harvesting this year’s canola is a good way to reduce volunteer canola populations in future soybean stands.

IMG_20160712_070736

Submitted by Dr. Jeanette Gaultier, Weed Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

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