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A Unified Effort to Fight an Enemy of Wheat and Barley: Fusarium Head Blight

December 2012 , Volume 96 , Number  12
Pages  1,712 - 1,728

Marcia McMullen, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND; Gary Bergstrom, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Erick De Wolf, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS; Ruth Dill-Macky, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN; Don Hershman, University of Kentucky, Princeton, KY; Greg Shaner, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; and Dave Van Sanford, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

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Wheat and barley are critical food and feed crops around the world. Wheat is grown on more land area worldwide than any other crop. In the United States, production of wheat and barley contributes to domestic food and feed use, and contributes to the export market and balance of trade. Fifteen years ago, Plant Disease published a feature article titled “Scab of wheat and barley: A re-emerging disease of devastating impact”. That article described the series of severe Fusarium head blight (FHB) epidemics that occurred in the United States and Canada, primarily from 1991 through 1996, with emphasis on the unparalleled economic and sociological impacts caused by the 1993 FHB epidemic in spring grains in the Northern Great Plains region. Earlier publications had dealt with the scope and damage caused by this disease in the United States, Canada, Europe, and China. Reviews published after 1997 further described this disease and its impact on North American grain production in the 1990s. This article reviews the disease and documents the information on U.S. FHB epidemics since 1997. The primary goal of this article is to summarize a sustained, coordinated, and collaborative research program that was put in place shortly after the 1993 epidemic, a program intended to quickly lead to improved management strategies and outreach implementation. This program serves as a model to deal with other emerging plant disease threats.

© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society