One problem that eastern Corn Belt wheat growers face frequently is Fusarium Head Blight (Scab). This disease can cause significant yield loss in addition to reduced grain quality and high levels of mycotoxins. Growers have effectively managed head scab with timely fungicide applications.
One additional tool available to growers for management of Fusarium Head Blight is gene resistance. The Fhb1 gene is widely recognized as an outstanding source of head scab resistance in wheat. This gene is effective in reducing the DON (Deoxynivalenol) levels in wheat, ultimately resulting in better grain quality. DON levels are a major concern in wheat because they cause animal feed refusal, sickness, and decreased weight gain.
For the 2017-2018 sales season, all four of Seed Consultants, Inc. wheat varieties (SC 13S07TM , SC 13S17TM, SC 13S26TM , and SC 13S37TM ) have the Fhb1 gene. The Fhb1 gene provides Type II resistance, which slows down or inhibits the spread of the pathogens from the initial infection site. Studies have found that the Fhb1 gene has constantly reduced infected grains by 27%. Although this gene provides additional protection from head scab, use of fungicides may be needed to maximize scab protection and reduce DON levels.