Watch for Fusarium Head Blight

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Please keep a look out this upcoming growing season for Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) as it may be reaching within Mountain View County borders.

FHB caused by Fusarium graminearum is a serious fungal disease of cereal and forage crops, including wheat, barley, oats and corn. It will reduce yields and decrease quality of grains intended for feed, malt/brewing, milling, and biofuel. FHB can cause health concerns in both humans and livestock.

According to Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Agdex, FHB is recognized in the field by the premature bleaching of infected spikelets and the production of orange, spore-bearing structures called sporodochia at the base of the glumes. During wet weather, there may be whitish, occasionally pinkish, fluffy fungal growth on infected heads in the field.

FHB was added to the Alberta Agricultural Pest Act in 1999 and infestations need to be reported to the County Agricultural Services department. Best management practices include the use of healthy treated seed, resistance varieties, crop rotation (1 in 3) and fungicide spray when the crop is at an elevated risk. A lab test is required to determine infection and ensure all seed has been tested.

As part of the Agricultural Service Board’s role under the Alberta Agricultural Pests Act, Mountain View County Agricultural Services Staff will perform FHB inspections at the request of producers or if there are suspected symptoms.

If you have any questions on Fusarium Head Blight or other pests under the Alberta Agricultural Pest Act, please contact Agricultural Services at or call 403-335-3311 during office hours.