Tillage system and cropping sequence effects on Fusarium head blight in barley in eastern Saskatchewan
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Fusarium head blight (FHB) in barley is well established in the eastern Canadian Prairies and appears to be moving westward. A survey of 192 barley crops in eastern Saskatchewan was conducted to determine the impact of agronomic practices on FHB (1999-2002) and Fusarium damaged kernels (FDK) (2000-2001). The most common species isolated from spikes/kernels were F. sporotrichioides, F. avenaceum, and F. graminearum, followed by F. poae and F. culmorum. Disease tended to be higher under minimum- than conventional- and/or zero-till. F. sporotrichioides was favored by a previous cereal crop, whereas F. avenaceum was higher after a pulse crop, and F. graminearum decreased after a pulse but not an oilseed crop. The latter two pathogens were also more prevalent after diversified cropping sequences than after two cereal crops. Summerfallow, or summerfallow alternated with cereals, decreased FDK. Previous glyphosate (Group 9 herbicides) use was associated with increased infection by all Fusarium spp., whereas Group 1 herbicides were associated with increased infection by F. poae and F. sporotrichioides. Number of previous glyphosate applications was also correlated with FHB caused by F. avenaceum and F. graminearum. We concluded that in eastern Saskatchewan, barley grown under minimum-till where glyphosate had been sprayed and following diversified cropping sequences would sustain the greatest damage due to FHB/FDK caused by F. avenaceum and F. graminearum.
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