UK winter wheat growers urged to monitor for mycotoxins

Rainfall during flowering period increased risk

With the winter wheat harvest drawing near, U.K. growers are being urged to pay close attention to completing their mycotoxin risk assessment after variations in regional rainfall over the early flowering period.

Recent monitoring has indicated the risk of fusarium infection for most of the U.K. wheat crop during the flowering period was either moderate or low – but periods of high rainfall, particularly in the southern and eastern parts of England during late May, could have affected some early flowering varieties, putting an estimated 5 percent of the winter wheat area in the second-highest risk category.

Dhan Bhandari, research and knowledge transfer manager for HGCA, said: “Late May saw some unsettled conditions with thundery downpours and prolonged spells of rain. In some areas, up to 30mm of rain was recorded in a single day, so growers with early flowering varieties in the south and east should pay particular attention to recording rainfall in their mycotoxin risk assessment.”

Bhandari stressed the importance of risk assessment at harvest.

“We are starting to enter the important last stages of the pre-harvest period from GS87 (when all greenness is lost in the grain) and growers should record their rainfall at harvest for the risk assessment as part of good agricultural practice,” he said.