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Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Triazole-Based Fungicides on Wheat Yield and Test Weight as Influenced by Fusarium Head Blight Intensity

February 2010 , Volume 100 , Number  2
Pages  160 - 171

P. A. Paul, M. P. McMullen, D. E. Hershman, and L. V. Madden

First and fourth authors: Department of Plant Pathology, The Ohio State University, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Wooster 44691; second author: Department of Plant Pathology, North Dakota State University, Fargo 58108; and third author: Department of Plant Pathology, University of Kentucky, Princeton 42445.

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Accepted for publication 2 October 2009.

Multivariate random-effects meta-analyses were conducted on 12 years of data from 14 U.S. states to determine the mean yield and test-weight responses of wheat to treatment with propiconazole, prothioconazole, tebuconazole, metconazole, and prothioconazole+tebuconazole. All fungicides led to a significant increase in mean yield and test weight relative to the check (D; P < 0.001). Metconazole resulted in the highest overall yield increase, with a D of 450 kg/ha, followed by prothioconazole+tebuconazole (444.5 kg/ha), prothioconazole (419.1 kg/ha), tebuconazole (272.6 kg/ha), and propiconazole (199.6 kg/ha). Metconazole, prothioconazole+tebuconazole, and prothioconazole also resulted in the highest increases in test weight, with D values of 17.4 to 19.4 kg/m3, respectively. On a relative scale, the best three fungicides resulted in an overall 13.8 to 15.0% increase in yield but only a 2.5 to 2.8% increase in test weight. Except for prothioconazole+tebuconazole, wheat type significantly affected the yield response to treatment; depending on the fungicide, D was 110.0 to 163.7 kg/ha higher in spring than in soft-red winter wheat. Fusarium head blight (FHB) disease index (field or plot-level severity) in the untreated check plots, a measure of the risk of disease development in a study, had a significant effect on the yield response to treatment, in that D increased with increasing FHB index. The probability was estimated that fungicide treatment in a randomly selected study will result in a positive yield increase (p+) and increases of at least 250 and 500 kg/ha (p250 and p500, respectively). For the three most effective fungicide treatments (metconazole, prothioconazole+tebuconazole, and prothioconazole) at the higher selected FHB index, p+ was very large (e.g., ≥0.99 for both wheat types) but p500 was considerably lower (e.g., 0.78 to 0.92 for spring and 0.54 to 0.68 for soft-red winter wheat); at the lower FHB index, p500 for the same three fungicides was 0.34 to 0.36 for spring and only 0.09 to 0.23 for soft-red winter wheat.

Additional keywords:baseline risk, Fusarium graminearum, Gibberella zeae, risk analysis, wheat scab.

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