New fusarium head blight risk mapping tool launched for Prairie farmers

Farmers across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have access to a new risk mapping tool for assessing fusarium head blight (FHB), fusarium damaged kernels, and deoxynivalenol (DON) risk levels in spring wheat, winter wheat, barley and durum based on weather conditions.

The weather-based risk is calculated using real-time weather data from more than 500 stations operated by Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Manitoba AgWeather Program, Saskatchewan Public Safety, Alberta Climate Information System and Metos Canada. The risk algorithms are “homegrown” based on research data collected from 600 plot sites across 15 locations in Western Canada each year from 2019 through 2021 and tested in more than 300 producer fields on the Prairies during the same period.

Previous FHB risk maps utilized imported FHB risk algorithms with limited accuracy testing and could not assess risk in barley or durum, nor for either damaged kernels or DON. The risk mapping tool is accessible using a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer, and is available at prairiefhb.ca.

The risk maps were created as part of a three-year research project led by the University of Manitoba’s Dr. Paul Bullock, with collaborators from Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, Manitoba Agriculture, Manitoba Crop Alliance, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission, Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission and Alberta Grains.

On RealAg Radio earlier this month, Alberta Grains interim director of research Jeremy Boychyn shared his enthusiasm for the new risk mapping tool. He says it will deliver consistent risk assessment across the three provinces.  Story continues after the interview.

The project was funded through the Integrated Crop Agronomy Cluster with funding from the Canadian Agriculture Partnership, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Western Grains Research Foundation, MCA, Sask Wheat, Alberta Grains, Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute and Prairie Oat Growers Association.

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