April 4, 2007 | By: Laura Skillman
PRINCETON, Ky.

Thanks to a cooperative effort, Kentucky’s wheat farmers will again have access to a product for combating a wheat disease that can cause tremendous economic losses.

Fusarium head blight of wheat and deoxynivalenol (DON) accumulation in harvested grain are periodically serious problems in Kentucky, causing significant yield and grain quality losses. Since 2004, the state has received a specific exemption from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, commonly called a Section 18 exemption, to use the fungicide Folicur to combat head blight.

On March 26, the EPA reissued the exemption for Folicur 3.6F and Oruis 3.6F to control head blight in wheat in Kentucky. The exemption expires May 30, and no applications can be made following that date.

Don Hershman, plant pathologist with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, along with colleagues from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, requested the exemption again this year but under a new approval process. This year the three-tiered process required the comparison of Folicur’s advantage over two other products, one on the market and one about to be released, in terms of profit versus loss.

Hershman said there were significantly different price levels between the products and that difference allowed for the request to meet the exemption approval process.

Under the Section 18 exemption, wheat producers can make one application of the product using ground or aerial equipment at a rate of 4 ounces of formulation per acre per season. The applications can be made from the time the wheat head is half emerged until the end of flowering. Applications must be made 30 days prior to harvest. A copy of the section 18 label must be in your possession at the time of application.

The proper use of Folicur will reduce the risk of FHB and DON when used with other FHB/DON management tactics, Hershman said. But the product is not a silver bullet.

“We need to stress that 40 to 50 percent control is about the best one could expect with this treatment,” he said. “Twenty-five to 35 percent is more realistic. The key is to think in terms of disease suppression, not control.”

For more information on this Section 18 exemption and wheat diseases, contact a county Cooperative Extension office. The use of wheat fungicides and application methods will also be discussed by Hershman at the UK Wheat Field Day on May 15 at the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton.

Contact: 

Don Hershman, 270-365-7541, ext. 215