Our research made understandable: A muster of grains – the second act
In the summer we introduced you to some of the details of plant pathology testing we carried out in the field. When assessing crops, besides investigating the appearance of various ear diseases, we also examined the endurance and weed-suppressing ability of the plants, as well as their growth rate. You can read more about this here.
Our plant pathologist, Péter Hertelendy, carried out a pathological analysis on the grain kernels after harvest. First, he inspected the crop yielded from the winter wheat seeds planted within the framework of our on-farm research activities. The aim of this study was to narrow down the range of varieties and select those with the highest resistance to ear diseases. We reached two notable conclusions during these studies.
One is that although abundant Fusarium infections were seen on the ears in the field, this infection occurred at a much lower rate when grain kernels were tested. There are two possible reasons for this. On the one hand, the drought that followed the wet spring weather could have prevented the pathogens from getting inside the kernels from the surface of the ears. On the other hand, the Fusarium-infected kernels, which are lighter than healthy kernels, may have been blown out due to the high winnowing settings on combine harvesters. The second factor could cause significant losses for producers, but quality is the top priority because of the human health risks associated with Fusarium.
The second interesting finding came from Péter testing samples treated with vinegar seed treatment against common bunt. The treatment proved effective, as the number of grains infected with common bunt were lower than the control samples.
Although the health of harvested kernels is influenced by the extent of any infections developed in the field, storage conditions are also important. There is a much higher risk of pathogens and pests occurring in dirty warehouses, or if the crops is stored when wet. These risks include the elevation of the mycotoxins produced by molds. Péter Hertelendy will tell you in detail about the importance of storage conditions in a later video. Until then, take a look at our homepage.