Stephen N. Wegulo, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln 68583;
William W. Bockus, Department of Plant Pathology, Kansas State University, Manhattan 66506;
John Hernandez Nopsa, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln 68583;
Erick D. De Wolf, Department of Plant Pathology, Kansas State University, Manhattan 66506;
Kent M. Eskridge, Department of Statistics, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln 68583;
Kamaranga H. S. Peiris, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Kansas State University, Manhattan 66506; and
Floyd E. Dowell, USDA ARS Center for Grain and Animal Health Research, Engineering and Wind Erosion Research Unit, Manhattan, KS 66502
Fusarium head blight (FHB) or scab, incited by Fusarium graminearum, can cause significant economic losses in small grain production. Five field experiments were conducted from 2007 to 2009 to determine the effects on FHB and the associated mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) of integrating winter wheat cultivar resistance and fungicide application. Other variables measured were yield and the percentage of Fusarium-damaged kernels (FDK). The fungicides prothioconazole + tebuconazole (formulated as Prosaro 421 SC) were applied at the rate of 0.475 liters/ha, or not applied, to three cultivars (experiments 1 to 3) or six cultivars (experiments 4 and 5) differing in their levels of resistance to FHB and DON accumulation. The effect of cultivar on FHB index was highly significant (P < 0.0001) in all five experiments. Under the highest FHB intensity and no fungicide application, the moderately resistant cultivars Harry, Heyne, Roane, and Truman had less severe FHB than the susceptible cultivars 2137, Jagalene, Overley, and Tomahawk (indices of 30 to 46% and 78 to 99%, respectively). Percent fungicide efficacy in reducing index and DON was greater in moderately resistant than in susceptible cultivars. Yield was negatively correlated with index, with FDK, and with DON, whereas index was positively correlated with FDK and with DON, and FDK and DON were positively correlated. Correlation between index and DON, index and FDK, and FDK and DON was stronger in susceptible than in moderately resistant cultivars, whereas the negative correlation between yield and FDK and yield and DON was stronger in moderately resistant than in susceptible cultivars. Overall, the strongest correlation was between index and DON (0.74 ≤ R ≤ 0.88, P ≤ 0.05). The results from this study indicate that fungicide efficacy in reducing FHB and DON was greater in moderately resistant cultivars than in susceptible ones. This shows that integrating cultivar resistance with fungicide application can be an effective strategy for management of FHB and DON in winter wheat.