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Fusarium Infection in Winter Wheat Challenges Livestock Producers

The executive director of Winter Cereals Canada reports exceptionally high levels of fusarium head blight infection in this year's winter wheat crop is creating a significant challenge for those planning to feed the grain to livestock.

Fusarium head blight, a fungal disease that infects cereal crops, produces a toxin that dramatically reduces the end use quality of the grain.

As a result of unusually wet weather the level of fusarium infection has been exceptionally high in winter wheat this year.

Jake Davidson, the executive director of Winter Cereals Canada, notes the ten year rolling average from 2004 for fusarium infection is 3.4 percent which compares to 11.6 percent this year with levels as high as 17.2 percent reported with very high levels of toxin.

Jake Davidson-Winter Cereals Canada:
The swine industry in Manitoba has relied quite heavily on winter wheat for several years and it's been very popular with the large colony operations but, again this year, the fusarium level being high it's going to be a problem for them to use this product up.

In a lot of cases the yields didn't look that bad but once they got it off and get a good look at it there's a problem.

We can dilute down but if you've grown a section and a half or two or more sections of winter wheat and it comes back very high it definitely causes some problems and I do know of various colonies trading off and working quite hard to find ways and means of getting out of the winter wheat unfortunately and they're looking at bringing in corn.

Davidson says we're short on the high grades of winter wheat this year and long on the low grades, so finding a use for it is going to be a problem.

Source: Farmscape

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