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Exploring Genotype × Environment × Management synergies to manage fusarium head blight in wheat

Beres, B.L., Brûlé-Babel, A.L., Ye, Z., Graf, R.J., Turkington, T.K., Harding, M.W., Kutcher, H.R., Hooker, D.C. (2018). Exploring Genotype × Environment × Management synergies to manage fusarium head blight in wheat, 40(2), 179-188.


© 2018 The Canadian Phytopathological Society. Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a devastating disease of wheat because of direct detrimental effects on grain yield, quality, and marketability and production of mycotoxins (e.g. deoxynivalenol or DON). Conditions most favourable for the development of FHB are high humidity, frequent rainfall and relatively warm night temperatures at heading, especially in regions where host crop residues are present. These risk factors have resulted in a significant westward expansion of FHB in the Canadian prairies, while favouring continued development in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. Since cultivar selection is a key integrated pest management (IPM) strategy, a systems approach that couples genetic resistance with management tactics is required. Thus, successful FHB mitigation is an ideal case study in Genotype (G) × Environment (E) × Management (M) interactions where more resistant cultivars (G) are grown in at-risk regions (E), and unique approaches to management (M) for sustainable wheat production are required. Since no cultivar is completely resistant to FHB, greater attention to management strategies is needed. The over-arching principle for FHB management is the manipulation of agronomic factors that facilitate completion of critical crop developmental phases, such as flowering, while doing so rapidly and uniformly, as a consequence of early sowing and increased seeding rates. These strategies and the adoption of practices involving proper fungicide selection, and optimal application timings and methods will lead to improved yield stability and quality in high-risk environments. This paper explores the potential synergies that exist for FHB mitigation when appropriate genetics are combined with an array of key agronomic strategies.

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