Influence of agronomic conditions on the efficacy of different fungicides applied to wheat at heading: effect on flag leaf senescence, Fusarium head blight attack, grain yield and deoxynivalenol contamination
Italian Journal of Agronomy
A series of field experiments has been conducted in North West Italy over a period of 3 years to evaluate the effect of fungicide applications on common wheat yield and safety, combined with different agronomic conditions (high: a susceptible variety to FHB planted in an untilled field; low: a medium tolerant variety to FHB planted in a ploughed field) for Fusarium head blight (FHB) infection risk. A azole mixture (prochloraz + epoxiconazole), applied at heading, was compared in each year and
... in each year and for each agronomic condition with a triazole with high activity against F. graminearum and F. culmorum (metconazole), a strobilurin-azole mixture with elevated action to control leaf diseases and delay leaf senescence (azoxystrobin + prochloraz) and an untreated control. The following parameters were analyzed: flag leaf greenness, grain yield, test weight, thousand kernel weight (TKW), FHB incidence and severity and deoxynivalenol (DON) contamination. The results of this research, conducted over three years with different meteorological conditions, underline the important link between fungicide efficacy and environmental and agronomic conditions that can influence fungal disease pressure. The fungicide effect on the con-trol of FHB and the increase in flag leaf longevity and grain yield were greater with an increase in the disease pressure. On the other hand, the DON contamination was reduced by the fungicide to a greater extent in the low risk agronomic and environmental conditions compared to the high risk ones. Prochloraz + epoxiconazole showed a lower efficacy in reducing DON contamination compared to metconazole, particularly in the higher FHB pressure conditions. No significant differences were observed between the azole mixture and the strobilurin-azole mixture for flag leaf greenness, grain yield, test weight or TKW. This study provides useful information that can be used to evaluate, in naturally-infected field conditions, the effect of a fungicide application at heading on wheat yield and safety in distinct scenarios for FHB and foliar disease pressure.