This product will help Western Canadian producers prevent this damaging disease from infecting their wheat fields
By Kate Ayers
BASF recently released its Insure Cereal FX4 seed treatment, which offers farmers a sustainable tool to control fusarium in wheat.
“Growers have the biggest concerns about fusarium head blight,” Russell Trischuk, BASF’s regional technical manager for seed solutions, said to Farms.com yesterday.
“The fusarium pathogen lives in the soil and on the straw that is left behind from previous years’ crops.”
The disease can damage wheat heads and reduce the value of the crop.
“When the heads are out in wheat, the spores floating around have the ability to infect the kernels of grain that are forming in the head,” he said.
“It leads to FDK or fusarium damaged kernels. These kernels show up in the wheat sample and are considered to be dockage.”
The most notorious species of the disease, fusarium graminearum, produces a toxin that can harm humans and animals when consumed. The presence of FDK ultimately cuts down on farmers’ profits.
A proactive tactic to keep fusarium out of fields is to use clean and disease-tolerant seeds as well as a robust seed treatment, Trischuk said.
“Much like building a house, you have to establish a good foundation – by getting seeds and seedlings that are disease free … and vigorous,” he said.
“That makes the seeds that much more able to manage the disease later on in life.”
Due to fusarium’s resilience, the chemical industry has taken an integrated approach to management.
“When we designed the product, we knew (fusarium) was one of the most prominent diseases in Western Canada,” Trischuk said.
“We also knew the importance of managing it early. We really focused on including different fungicide active ingredients that we knew were the most effective against the fusarium species we have in” the Prairies.
The product contains four active ingredients – triticonazole (Group 3), metalaxyl (Group 4), fluxapyroxad (Group 7) and pyraclostrobin (Group 11).
Three of these ingredients “on their own are strong enough to control the fusarium that we are seeing right now. But we knew that we not only had to make seed treatments for today, but we also had to think about what will happen in the future,” Trischuk said.
“The other key feature of the product is that the active ingredients come from different mode of action groups. … It is a very sustainable product because, if we do run into those (fusarium) biotypes that might be insensitive to (one) fungicide group, we have protection from the others. It is really a good product for current conditions and potentially increased disease pressures.”
The Pest Management Regulatory Agency registered the product in September. Producers can use the product in the spring.
“In the trial work that we’ve done with this product over the last seven years, we have seen plants with thicker and longer leaves and a more advanced root system. These are good foundations to lead to a good crop down the road,” Trischuk said.
The seed treatment also primes the plant to be able to handle stresses like an early frost or droughty conditions.
“We also have very consistent crop emergence … 85 to 90 per cent of the plants in a row emerge at the same time, which is important when managing fusarium in the later stages,” Trischuk said.
“When you go in with a fungicide application, it’s a very narrow three- to five-day window you can spray the crop and have effective suppression of the disease. If you have a crop that is not staged properly, you might miss some of the heads during the application.”