Agricultural Research on Fusarium Molds

fusarium moldsI hope each of you have enjoyed the early spring weather we are having. I am writing this on March first and the weather is great. The old saying is March comes in like a lamb and goes out like a lion. Maybe we will be lucky this year and the lion will be just a warm rain.

Arouse and Crescendo have been around for a number of years. I have used these products on my farm and have been very pleased with the results. We have had many test plots and have seen larger root systems and higher yield.

International Ag Lab's Products Arouse and Crescendo

For those of you that are not familiar with Arouse and Crescendo I'll try to explain the products. The main component in both products is the microbial mixture. There are several different species of freeze dried microbes mixed together. Arouse is made to be applied dry at the rate of 10 lbs / acre in dry form. Crescendo is designed to be applied with water in a spray or in fertilizer solutions. The main thing I want to emphasize is the microbial mixture is the same in each of them.

As many of you know, we at International Ag Labs have a full laboratory to do agricultural analyses. One of the analyses we do is called a mycotoxin mold test. Fusarium is the mother mold of the four mycotoxin mold tests that are laboratory analyzes. We have known for some time that when we use our soil program on Wheat & Barley, we get a large reduction in mycotoxins. We use a residue decomposition program on the residue after harvest. Next, we want enough tillage to get the residue mixed with the soil. In the Spring we use Arouse or Crescendo with the fertility program to complete the program.

Preventing fusarium in grain production

Preventing fusarium in grain productionRESEARCH 1

In January the Agricultural Research magazine published a research paper about a seed pretreatment that reduces Fusarium. Fusarium is the mold that produces mycotoxins such as Vomitoxin (DON) & Zearalenone. Fusarium thrives inside the plants and fills up the plants intercellular spaces. The Fusarium actually helps the plant survive some problems it encounters during the growing season. When the seed develops, however; it is infected with Fusarium which in turn produces toxins. Researchers have now found that if they treat the seed with a bacteria called "Bacillus Subtillis" the fusarium will not enter the plant. The Bacillus Subtillis gets into the intercellular spaces before the fusarium can enter the spaces. The Bacillus Subtillis keeps it out, therefore; it cannot reside in the plant. The Bacillus Subtillis also helps the plant survive the problems it encounters during the growing season. Also, it gives the plant a larger root system so it can extract more nutrients from the soil. As a result of this we do not have contaminated grain. Well, guess what? Arouse and Crescendo have three strains of Bacillus Subtillis mixed in with many other strains of bacteria that are in these products. Arouse and Crescendo are definitely part of the reason why we have been successful in preventing fusarium in grain production. I also still believe in the residue decomposition program as well as watching trace mineral levels, especially copper, but all trace minerals are important.


In other research that showed where high nitrogen applications were used, the copper levels were depleted. In our soil testing laboratory we routinely test for four trace elements, copper, iron, manganese and zinc. In over 80% of the soil tests we do, copper and manganese are usually low to very low. We do know that trace minerals are important in grain production and copper is extremely important in small grain production.


I have other research about tillage and crop rotation from the University of Minnesota. "Effects of previous crop residues and tillage practices on Fusarium head blight (FHB) of wheat were examined. Fusarium head blight was monitored in plots of the FHB-susceptible spring wheat cultivar Norm following crops of corn, wheat, and soybeans in 1995,1996,and1997. Moldboard plow, chisel plow, and no-till treatments were imposed perpendicular to crop strips to establish a range of residue levels in each of the previous crop residues. Fusarium head blight incidence and severity were greatest when wheat followed corn and least when wheat followed soybeans. Incidence and severity were lower in moldboard plowed plots than in either chisel plowed or no-till plots, although differences among chisel plow and no-till treatments were not apparent. Yields of wheat were approximately 15% lower in plots where wheat followed corn or wheat than in wheat following soybeans wheat following soybeans and were lo% greater in moldboard plowed plots than in either chisel plowed or no-till treatments. The deoxynivalenol (DON) content of harvested grain was significantly correlated with FHB incidence and severity. The DON level in wheat following soybeans, averaged across tillage treatments, was 25% lower than in wheat following wheat and 50% of the level in wheat following corn. These findings suggest that changes in regional tillage practices, principally the move toward conservation tillage and reduced-till systems, contributed to the recent · FHB epidemics in the Upper Midwest. Because differences in the type and quantity of crop residues in small plots affected disease development, it is likely that local sources of inoculum, such as those within a grower's field, contribute directly to the inoculum load and disease potential. The implication of these findings is that selection of cultural practices aimed to reduce inoculum-borne residues will assist in the control of FHB." I do not know if I would go back to moldboard plowing. I think our residue spray along with chisel plowing would be adequate.

I just wanted to pass along some of the research that I thought would interest some of our customers. I do not think that this research is limited to small grains. I also think some of these ideas can be used in corn and soybean production. The fusarium is the same in corn as it is in small grains. I also believe trace element levels and residue decomposition is very important in keeping white mold in soybeans controlled.

I hope each one of you have a great spring season. Our laboratory is getting busy with soil testing right now, if we can be of any help to you, please feel free to call or e-mail.

Thank you & God Bless,

Wendell Owens, International Ag Labs

Wendell Owens

of International Ag Labs

Wendell Owen

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