Fusarium head blight (FHB), or scab, is an economically important disease of wheat and barley, with yield losses of more than 45% in severe cases. It is caused by the fungus Fusarium graminearum, which can also produce a toxin harmful to livestock and humans. Weather conditions such as rain and humidity are major factors contributing to the disease.
Researchers at Ohio State, Penn State, and Kansas State have developed a web-based model to predict the risk of Fusarium head blight for a given area. The tool uses weather and crop information to guide growers in treatment decisions.
This web-based tool is now used by growers, crop consultants, and processors to make management decisions in 23 states, including Ohio. Extension personnel in wheat-growing areas use the tool to deliver state-customized advice to users. In Ohio, plant pathologists provide weekly web updates on the disease.
The Fusarium Head Blight Prediction Center for Wheat (www.wheatscab.psu.edu) and similar aids help guide growers in cost-efficient and environmentally-sound disease management decisions.