FHB Risk Map for Alberta CEREAL GROWERS IN Alberta have a new weapon in the fight against fusarium head blight (FHB). It’s an online risk assessment tool that helps farmers and agronomists decide whether to apply fungicides based on the likelihood of the disease turning up in their area. Brian Kennedy, grower relations and extension manager for the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC), says the tool was launched in the summer of 2017 following requests from wheat producers in the province. “They had been seeing fusarium risk maps from Manitoba and Saskatchewan … and they asked us to develop something,” he says. The tool was developed for the AWC by numerous partners, including Ralph Wright and Pavel Pytlak from Alberta Climate Information Services, plant pathologist Michael Harding and crop specialist Neil Whatley from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada plant disease researcher Kelly Turkington. “We’ve been lucky [in that] we’ve had a couple of years with lower fusarium head blight, but because this is a weather-related disease, growers need to be aware of it and manage their risk by following best management practices every year,” says Turkington. “This was really to get something out and available to producers, so they can start looking at gauging the potential risk of fusarium head blight based on weather conditions.” Turkington says while FHB is a relatively new disease in some areas of the province, the disease risk is more widespread in Alberta than it was a decade ago. There’s a new tool available to Alberta cereal producers that assesses the risk of the disease turning up in their fields. FightingFusariumHeadBlight Fusarium head blight damage in wheat. Photo courtesy of Kelly Turkington. “The pathogen has become more frequently found not only in southern Alberta, where it causes production issues and downgrading and so on, but also outside of that region,” he says. “We’re at a point now that in a number of areas in Alberta, producers are not so much concerned about introducing the pathogen as they are about effectively managing it so that the impact on yield and especially grade and also mycotoxin contamination is mitigated as best possible.” Weather Station Data The FHB risk assessment tool works by pulling data from weather stations across Alberta to provide a localized risk warning gauge. 22 | Advancing Seed in Alberta