Research

Post harvest DON reduction strategies for Canadian western spring wheat, durum and barley

  • Term: 2 years, beginning in 2018
  • Funding Amount: $ 86,250
  • Lead Researcher(s): Rex Newkirk (University of Saskatchewan)
  • Funding Partners: Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture - Agriculture Development Fund (ADF)

Project Description:

The overall objective of this project is to determine the most practical, cost effective methods to reduce deoxynivalenol (DON) levels in Fusarium-infected wheat and barley, with a focus on on-farm applications thereby increasing the value, safety and marketing opportunities for these important crops.

It is difficult to determine the exact cost of Fusarium damage to producers in Saskatchewan and across the prairies and estimates vary widely but in 2014 and again in 2016 the lost revenue and additional transportation, handling and storage costs are likely in the 100’s of millions of dollars on an annual basis. On an individual farm basis, the impact of Fusarium damage can be even more significant. The disease tends to be regional and sporadic in nature due to the impact of growing conditions on the disease. As a result, individual producers can experience significant losses as the majority of their wheat and durum can be downgraded either reducing the grade or in extreme cases making the product virtually worthless. Fortunately, significant investments are being made towards developing new more resistant varieties and producers are investing in extensive fungicide treatments but these alone will not solve the issue and options to deal with infected grain post-harvest is also required. This research will provide those options to producers and allow them to recover significant value from their crop.

Thus, the main objective is to develop and examine strategies for on-farm to reduce the Mycotoxin (DON) in barley and wheat post harvest; and to examine strategies to reduce the mycotoxin (DON) in barley post harvest during seed cleaning. The proposed research will study three DON (vomitoxin) reduction strategies namely physical processes (scouring), oxidation of the DON, and seed sorting to remove individual infected kernels.

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