December 17, 2003 | By: Laura Skillman

The annual winter wheat conference of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture’s Wheat Science Group will focus on dealing with head scab disease.

The workshop is Jan. 6 at the Christian County office of the UK Cooperative Extension Service.

Speakers will include UK specialists as well as private consultants, millers, elevator operators and seed company representatives.

“The reason for the emphasis is that 2003 was the largest head blight year in Kentucky since 1991,” said Don Hershman, UK Extension plant pathologist and Wheat Science Group member.

“Many farmers had a lot of symptoms and caused yields to be reduced,” he said. “There were seed quality issues and they’ve had to make a lot of adjustments and spend a lot of money to clean up their seed for planting this fall.”

The milling industry also got involved this year because of high levels of the toxin dioxynivalenol, or DON, in some of the infected wheat from Kentucky. There are restrictions on how much DON can be in food products and millers had a difficult time using Kentucky wheat as a result, Hershman said.

“Normally, they have been sort of quiet but they broke that silence this year,” he said. “It’s the farmers who usually raise concerns but this year, the yields were better than expected considering the amount of symptoms seen in the field. DON has really driven a lot of the interest in head scab.”

Hershman said millers are on the program to discuss head scab problems as they relate to their industry. “Maybe the food quality end of it is a concern more often than we realize,” he said.

Topics include a look at the past two seasons and how they were impacted by head scab; breeding resistance update; harvesting, handling and storage tips; grain handling aspects; impact of seed quality on the economics of the next wheat crop; and a market outlook.

In addition, there will be two panel discussions. One will be on risk management plans and will include Hershman and two private crop consultants. The other panel will address head scab from a miller’s perspective with Carl Schwinke of Seimer Milling and Dan Cayce of Hopkinsville Milling.

An overview of wheat head scab including conclusions, considerations and recommendations will conclude the workshop.

The Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association will provide lunch.            Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. CST with the program starting at 9 a.m. and concluding at 3:30 p.m. The Christian County Extension office is at 2850 Pembroke Road in Hopkinsville.

Three general pesticide credit hours and one specific hour in categories 1A, 4, 10 and 12 will be available from the state Division of Pesticide. In addition, certified crop advisor credits will be available for four hours crop management and one hour for integrated pest management.

For more information contact Jay Stone, Christian County Cooperative Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources, at 270-886-6328 or Dottie Call, Wheat Science Group coordinator, at 270-365-7541 ext. 234.




Writer: Laura Skillman  270-365-7541 ext. 278

Source: Don Hershman 270-365-7541 ext. 215