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NIAB Fusarium Survey

Participate in the NIAB Fusarium Survey

  • Wheat ears infected by Fusarium can be sent directly in a standard paper envelope.
  • The address is 'Freepost NIAB FUSARIUM SURVEY'. You do NOT need a stamp or any other address.
  • With the sample, include the postcode closest to the field where you found it and the variety.
  • Include your contact information, e.g. an email address, so we can get back to you.
  • Simply drop it off at any Royal Mail post box or post office. Thank you so much for your support!

What is Fusarium Head Blight?

Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) is a devastating disease in small grain cereals. It can cause substantial yield loss and it can contaminate the harvest with toxins. FHB occurs in every major wheat growing region worldwide. On a global scale losses run into millions of pounds every year. In the UK, FHB is a problem in epidemic years, for example in 2012 and 2016.

You can usually recognise it by looking for pink spores on pre-maturely bleached wheat heads. Simply click through the pictures below to see typical FHB symptoms.

Ever thought of joining a research project? Join the NIAB Fusarium Survey

As part of the Fusarium Survey NIAB will analyse wheat ears infected with FHB free of charge. You can easily participate as shown in the picture series below. Thank you for your support.

Further information on FHB

What is the risk of FHB in the UK?

FusariumRecent research shows that the risk of FHB in the UK may be increasing. This is due to:

  • climate change
  • changes in agronomic practices, for example an increase in forage maize area or use of no-till techniques
  • possible changes in the Fusarium population.

This survey will help us monitor and better understand the threat FHB poses in the UK.

What can farmers do about FHB?

Farmers can take several steps to combat Fusarium. Examples include:

Unfortunately, there is no fully resistant variety and FHB cannot be completely controlled. Therefore further research is needed on Fusarium.

NIAB action and research

  • Get seed tested with NIAB LabTest
  • NIAB is one of hte largest AHDB contractors running National List and Recommended List trials across all major combinable crops. This includes trials for FHB resistance.
  • NIAB research is looking at resistance towards FHB for commercial UK wheat varieties, alongside the NIAB Fusarium Survey.

Looking for more information?

Any questions on this project, please contact Franziska Fischer at NIAB.

Your agronomist will be able to provide advice on FHB relevant to your situation. You can also join a course on wheat diseases with ARTIS. Or try an e-learning course online on wheat disease ID and control.

Plenty of additional information on FHB is also available on the internet. Following links may be helpful:

About the project

Franziska FischerFusarium culmorum is the most common pathogen that causes FHB in the UK. I am excited to participate in research that has been going on for over a century to fight a major threat to wheat: A farmer from Norfolk and a scientist in London worked together in the 1880s and were probably the first who correctly linked this pathogen with the disease it causes. At work as a crop scientist, I especially enjoy this sort of collaboration.

The NIAB Fusarium survey is part of my PhD project as a member of the Cambridge BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership, supervised by Dr Alison Bentley. For more information on my background, please visit my NIAB webpage and feel free to email any questions.

The project is funded by the BBSRC and the J C Mann Trust. Franziska is supported by the University of Cambridge and the Cambridge Trust.