New KSRE publication on Fusarium head blight (head scab) in wheat

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A new publication from the Plant Pathology Department and K-State Research and Extension is now available. This publication, MF3458 – “Fusarium Head Blight” aims to assist producers in identifying this disease and offers best management options.

While Fusarium head blight is only a problem in approximately 3 out of 10 years, many growers across portions of eastern and central Kansas have reported symptoms in 2019. The disease is rare in western Kansas, where dry conditions generally suppress disease development; however, the disease may occur in irrigated fields in western Kansas. A recent eUpdate article in Issue 753, “Dealing with Fusarium head blight (head scab) in wheat”, can be found at

Some quick facts about Fusarium head blight

  • Fusarium head blight causes large tan lesions that encompass large portions of the wheat head.
  • The disease damages the grain directly, with infected kernels appearing white and chalky. Some kernels have a pink discoloration.
  • The fungus that causes Fusarium head blight survives in the residues of corn, wheat, barley, oats, and many wild grasses. Infection takes place during flowering or early stages of grain development and is favored by damp weather.
  • No single management option provides high levels of disease control; therefore, the disease is best managed with a combination of genetic resistance and fungicides.
  • Disease losses can be reduced by harvesting fields with the lowest disease levels first, adjusting harvest equipment to remove diseased kernels, and segregating loads of healthy and diseased grain.

You can view the entire publication at



Erick DeWolf, Plant Pathologist

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