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Agronomy Update

Update on Escalate™ Soybean Study and Wheat Vomitoxin

Published on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

On June 4, we sent a video highlighting the Beck’s Escalate™ vs. Untreated Study at the London, Ohio Practical Farm Research (PFR)® site. In the video, we did an early comparison of soybean treatments, evaluating the differences between Escalate treated vs non-treated soybeans. 

This past week, we headed back out to the test plot in effort to provide you with updates on this study and the differences we are continuing to see. There were significant, visible variances in the soybeans that received Beck’s Escalate yield enhancement system vs the untreated soybeans. These include better insect control, earlier more uniform emergence, and more vigorous growth resulting in a taller, fuller canopy. Check out the video below to learn more!

We are continuing to see notable differences below ground as well. The Escalate treated seed showed thicker and healthier stem development whereas the non-treated plants have resulted in shorter stems with disease presence on the cotyledons. We have also noticed a better development of the secondary root system and far more advanced nodulation with Escalate in this trial. Click here and head to page 297 for more information on this study.  

May 28 Evaluation of Escalate treated (Left) and non-treated soybeans (right).

July 6 Evaluation of Escalate treated and non-treated soybeans.

Vomitoxin on Wheat 

The 2014-2015 wheat crop has certainly had its share of problems this season. Much of the crop was planted later than normal and this spring we had more freeze/thaw cycles than we have had in several years. We also experienced extremely wet conditions in May and June. We are now seeing a delayed harvest with sprouting heads, lower test weight, and vomitoxin.

Vomitoxin, or DON (Deoxynivalenol) is usually produced on wheat and barley heads that were infected with Fusarium Head Blight, or scab. Just because you have scab does not mean that you automatically have DON. In fact, we have experienced many years of scab without vomitoxin. DON can also occur in fields that have a delayed harvest but don’t have much scab, which I believe is the reason we are seeing more of it this year. 

Photo Credit

According to the Compendium of Wheat Diseases and Pests Third Edition, “In general, Fusarium will only grow in wheat in which grain moisture is in equilibrium with relative humidity above 90 percent (20-25 percent grain moisture). These fungi can grow at temperatures from near 0 to 30 degrees C (32 to 86 degrees F) with optimal growth of most species occurring around 25 degrees C (77 degrees F).“ In other words, we have had a great environmental conditions with all the rainfall maintaining high humidity, moderate temperatures and delayed harvest to have a lot of vomitoxin.

Growers who used a fungicide such as  Prosaro®, Proline® or Caramba® at flowering saw healthier wheat and less vomitoxin, although they have still seen sprouting, lower test weights, and some scab. A fungicide for head scab is effective when ideally timed, although you are never going to get 100 percent control of scab due to wheat flowering over a long period (approximately 10 days). Strobilurin fungicides, such as  Quadris® or Headline®, applied at flowering, have shown to actually increase DON levels. Varieties will also differ in their susceptibility to scab.

For those who may be thinking about saving seed for wheat this year (which we don’t recommend as it is illegal since most wheat has variety patents), scabby wheat with low test weight will give poor stands and seed treatments will not offer much relief. Seed companies have ways of dealing with scabby wheat to improve quality which includes recommendations to growers to help prevent infection to begin with, cleaning practices, and gravity tables.  

Getting the wheat harvested as soon as possible and dried down to the proper moisture should stop the fungus and DON levels from continuing to grow. Now… if we could only stop the rain to make that possible!

Have a great week!

Escalate™ and Practical Farm Research (PFR)® are trademarks of Beck’s Superior Hybrids, Inc. Prosaro® and Proline®, are registered trademarks of Bayer CropScience. Carabma® and Headline® are registered trademarks of BASF. Quadris® is a registered trademark of a Syngenta Group Company.

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Alex Johnson

Alex Johnson

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