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Very close up shot of wheat crop ears in field

Fusarium Head Blight : species incidence and toxin risk 2012

Final results on analysis of species causing widespread fusarium head blight in wheat (23 August 2012)

  • All the Defra winter wheat survey samples have now been assessed for disease, with almost all samples (96%) showing signs of fusarium head blight (FHB) symptoms. All isolation and identification of the pathogens responsible for the FHB symptoms have also now been completed and have confirmed that 95% of samples were infected by at least one of the pathogens responsible for producing FHB symptoms.
  • Nationally the non-toxin producing Microdochium species (M. nivale and M. majus) were responsible for the majority of symptoms; with 93% of crops and 35% of ears within a crop infected by these pathogens. High levels of contamination by Microdochium species will cause reductions in grain quality and yield and affect seed germination.
  • Of the two deoxynivalenol producing species, Fusarium graminearum was the predominant species with 45% of crops and 4% of ears within a crop infected by F. graminearum and there is therefore a very high risk of mycotoxin contamination. The level of F. graminearum present in crops in 2012 is far greater than the previous high seen in 2008 where 26% of crops and 3% of ears within a crop were infected by F. graminearum.
  • However, the level of F. graminearum is variable across the different regions indicating that the risk from mycotoxin contamination will also vary. Crops grown in the East Midlands are at the highest risk of mycotoxin contamination; with F. graminearum infection detected in 84% of crops and 8% of ears within an infected crop. However, with levels of infection greater than 30% of crops the South east, West Midlands, South west, East and Yorkshire and Humberside are also indicated as at high risk. Crops in the North east and North west are at low risk.
  • The level of rainfall prior to harvest will continue to influence the level and type of mycotoxin contamination in grain, with delayed harvest leading to increased levels of zearalenone.

Region Samples assessed
(%)
Samples with FEB pathogens present (%) Isolations completed
(%)
% samples affected by specific pathogens(%)* Toxin risk**
North East 100 92 100 F. culmorum (0)
F. poae (0)
F. langsethiae (0)
F. graminearum (8)
Microdochium spp. (92)
F. avenaceum (0)
Low
North west 100 100 100 F. culmorum (14)
F. poae (29)
F. langsethiae (0)
F. graminearum (0)
Microdochium spp. (100)
F. avenaceum (14)
Low
Yorks & Humberside 100 88 100 F. culmorum (9)
F. poae (19)
F. langsethiae (0)
F. graminearum (37)
Microdochium spp. (88)
F. avenaceum (19)
High
East Midlands 100 100 100 F. culmorum (3)
F. poae (29)
F. langsethiae (5)
F. graminearum (84)
Microdochium spp. (100)
F. avenaceum (19)
Very High
West Midlands 100 89 100 F. culmorum (11)
F. poae (29)
F. langsethiae (11)
F. graminearum (36)
Microdochium spp. (89)
F. avenaceum (14)
High
East 100 100 100 F. culmorum (19)
F. poae (49)
F. langsethiae (10)
F. graminearum (40)
Microdochium spp. (94)
F. avenaceum (17)
High
South east 100 95 100 F. culmorum (31)
F. poae (23)
F. langsethiae (8)
F. graminearum (46)
Microdochium spp. (87)
F. avenaceum (18)
Very High
South West 100 91 100 F. culmorum (0)
F. poae (16)
F. langsethiae (6)
F. graminearum (28)
Microdochium spp. (91)
F. avenaceum (3)
High
National 100 95 100 F. culmorum (13)
F. poae (29)
F. langsethiae (7)
F. graminearum (45)
Microdochium spp. (93)
F. avenaceum (15)
High

* expressed as a % of the samples processed so far
** based on the levels of F. graminearum present in crops

National levels of Fusarium Head Blight (1991-2012)

                      

Incidence of FHB within crops (2006-2012)


* % of fields affected by FHB

Incidence of F. graminearum (2006-2012)