Crop Management

Lead researcher: Dr. Thomas Kelly Turkington, Lacombe Research and Development Center,
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Timeline: 2018-2023
Total Funding: $508,200
Funders: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC): $355,740 
  Alberta Barley: $71,930
  SaskBarley Development Commission: $71,930
  Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute (BMBRI): $8,600

Fusarium head blight (FHB) now affects most of Canada and can be a devastating disease. When conditions are favourable for its development, FHB can cause significant yield and grade losses and mycotoxin contamination. For barley producers, this usually results in a rejection for malt status. As the disease continues to spread, the potential production area for the selection of malting barley without detectable levels of deoxynivalenol (DON) becomes smaller and smaller.

Further complicating the matter, there is currently a lack of effective management or prevention options for the disease.

However, we do know that using an integrated crop management approach can lessen the impact. This research project aims to help us learn more about this by investigating potential cropping strategies that may help to reduce variability in crop development, and by increasing the extent of host tissue coverage with fungicides by focusing on seeding rates, fungicide timings and water volumes. Overall the research aims to determine how we can improve our ability to reduce FHB and potential mycotoxin contamination in barley and ultimately improve the quality of the resulting malt.

Improving our ability to manage FHB will make barley a more attractive cropping option for producers and a better product for maltsters.