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Integrated Effects of Genetic Resistance and Prothioconazole + Tebuconazole Application Timing on Fusarium Head Blight in Wheat

Paul, P. A., Salgado, J. D., Bergstrom, G., Bradley, C. A., Byamukama, E., Byrne, A. M., Chapara, V., Cummings, J. A., Chilvers, M. I., Dill-Macky, R., Friskop, A., Kleczewski, N., Madden, L. V., Nagelkirk, M., Stevens, J., Smith, M., Wegulo, S. N., Wise, K., Yabwalo, D.
Plant disease 2019 v.103 no.2 pp. 223-237
Fusarium, Fusarium head blight, application timing, cultivars, deoxynivalenol, field experimentation, financial economics, flowering, genetic resistance, grain yield, meta-analysis, pesticide application, prices, seeds, spikelets, tebuconazole, wheat, United States
Integrated Fusarium head blight (FHB) management programs consisting of different combinations of cultivar resistance class and an application of the fungicide prothioconazole + tebuconazole at or after 50% early anthesis were evaluated for efficacy against FHB incidence (INC; percentage of diseased spikes), index (IND; percentage of diseased spikelets per spike), Fusarium damaged kernel (FDK), deoxynivalenol (DON) toxin contamination, grain yield, and test weight (TW) in inoculated field trials conducted in 11 U.S. states in 2014 and 2015. Mean log response ratios and corresponding percent control values for INC, IND, FDK, and DON, and mean differences in yield and TW relative to a nontreated, inoculated susceptible check (S_CK), were estimated through network meta-analyses as measures of efficacy. Results from the analyses were then used to estimate the economic benefit of each management program for a range of grain prices and fungicide applications costs. Management programs consisting of a moderately resistant (MR) cultivar treated with the fungicide were the most efficacious, reducing INC by 60 to 69%, IND by 71 to 76%, FDK by 66 to 72%, and DON by 60 to 64% relative to S_CK, compared with 56 to 62% for INC, 68 to 72% for IND, 66 to 68% for FDK, and 58 to 61% for DON for programs with a moderately susceptible (MS) cultivar. The least efficacious programs were those with a fungicide application to a susceptible (S) cultivar, with less than a 45% reduction of INC, IND, FDK, or DON. All programs were more efficacious under conditions favorable for FHB compared with less favorable conditions, with applications made at 50% early anthesis being of comparable efficacy to those made 2 to 7 days later. Programs with an MS cultivar resulted in the highest mean yield increases relative to S_CK (541 to 753 kg/ha), followed by programs with an S cultivar (386 to 498 kg/ha) and programs with an MR cultivar (250 to 337 kg/ha). Integrated management programs with an MS or MR cultivar treated with the fungicide at or after 50% early anthesis were the most likely to result in a 50 or 75% control of IND, FDK, or DON in a future trial. At a fixed fungicide application cost, these programs were $4 to $319/MT more economically beneficial than corresponding fungicide-only programs, depending on the cultivar and grain price. These findings demonstrate the benefits of combining genetic resistance with a prothioconazole + tebuconazole treatment to manage FHB, even if that treatment is applied a few days after 50% early anthesis.