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CANADA - The program manager for quality assurance with the Canadian Grain Commission reports 2014 has been one of the worst years ever for fusarium head blight damage in winter wheat, writes Bruce Cochrane.
Fusarium head bight, a fungal disease that damages the kernels of cereal grains and produces a toxin that makes the grain unpalatable for livestock, especially hogs, has been a major problem in this year's red winter wheat crop.
Daryl Beswitherick, the program manager for quality assurance with the Canadian Grain Commission says fusarium has been widespread in that crop this year and has been the main downgrading factor in Manitoba and Saskatchewan,
Daryl Beswitherick-Canadian Grain Commission:
For fusarium damage in Manitoba, it's been here for many years now and it just depends on the timing of the flowering of the wheat and the weather conditions at that time that really seem to impact whether it's going to be affected by fusarium damage or not.
In the 2013 crop red winter wheat virtually had no fusarium damage in it at all and in the 2014 crop it was affected quite badly and a lot of samples are 2% fusarium or more.
Compared to normal this is, in the red winter wheat crop, probably one of the worst years that we've seen here at the grain commission.
But in the red spring crop it's quite normal actually.
The flowering was a little bit later and the weather was a more favorable at that time and so on the red spring crop we're seeing fairly low levels of fusarium damage and some downgrading to a number two, some to a three but not that many.
Mr Beswitherick recommends if producers have grain that has fusarium damaged kernels to get an independent third party or the grain commission to grade the grain.
He says sometimes infected grain can be cleaned depending on the kernel size and the weight of those kernels but you might still have grain that is not favorable for the feed market so the best thing is to know what you have.
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