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Field Notes

DON Update

The fungus Fusarium graminearum can cause Fusarium head blight and produce DON toxin in Kernza® if favorable conditions (75-85oF with high moisture/humidity) occur during pollination and grain fill. The Land Institute conducted a small study in 2019 to test the effect of lodging and swathing on DON toxin levels. There was no effect of swathing on DON, but approximately 5x higher DON levels in lodged samples. Similar findings have been published in wheat, barley and rice and in barley and oats. While this is preliminary data, growers may consider harvesting lodged sections of the field separately from standing sections, especially if in areas at high risk of Fusarium infection. If fields are lodged in 2020 and growers would like to contribute to this research by collecting samples prior to harvest, please contact Tessa Peters ( or Kathryn Turner ( toxin in standing, lodged, and swathed stalks of 20 C7 intermediate wheatgrass plants. The lodged and standing stalks were harvested on July 16, 2019; the swathed stalks were collected on July 30, 2019 after nightly irrigation.

DON in standing and lodged stalks of 20 C7 intermediate wheatgrass plants harvested on July 16, 2019.

Regions at risk of Fusarium infection (projected for moderately susceptible wheat flowering July 17, 2020). This Fusarium Head Blight Prediction Center and Risk Assessment Tool is available at Additional prediction tools are available for the Midwest and MN