Demonstration of varietal response to fungicide and nitrogen applications on wheat yield, disease incidence and profitability

Martin Chilvers, an associate professor in the MSU Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, is helping wheat growers create strategies for selecting the optimum levels of nitrogen and fungicide.

Researcher: Martin Chilvers

Awarded: $25,000
Leveraged: $60,000

Michigan has some of the highest-yielding dryland wheat areas in the country. Combined with a large local milling presence, it creates a high demand for wheat production. Producers across the state have been increasingly resorting to intensive wheat management programs involving combinations of popular agronomic inputs to further optimize yields. According to researchers, many are adopting management practices without understanding if they will increase yield or profitability based on their specific variety or environment. This project worked toward determining the best production practices for Michigan wheat, which aids in improving the profitability of wheat production, especially in times with low commodity prices. The study generated multi-year data specific to Michigan wheat production that can be used for years to come to demonstrate the value of fungicide and nitrogen inputs, and the importance of variety selection. This trial also provided an outreach opportunity to show growers the different disease response of varieties side by side, demonstrating that a resistant variety is essential in managing Fusarium head blight, a major concern due to mycotoxin contamination of grain. A toxin harmful to both human and animal health, deoxynivalenol can prevent farmers from marketing their crop if levels are high enough. Ultimately, this information will allow growers to improve their strategies for selecting economic levels of nitrogen and fungicide applications.

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