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Wheat Fungal Disease Impacts Pig Feed

1 September 2014, at 9:51am

CANADA - The executive director of Winter Cereals Canada says fusarium head blight has been the biggest factor affecting the quality of this year's winter wheat crop, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Last fall the number of acres seeded to winter wheat increased in Saskatchewan and Alberta but fell in Manitoba.

Jake Davidson, the executive director of Winter Cereals Canada, reports the recent wet weather has made harvesting the crop difficult but the biggest problem has been fusarium head blight, a fungal disease that produces a toxin which dramatically impacts the desirability of the grain for a variety of end uses, including milling, ethanol production and feeding livestock.

Jake Davidson-Winter Cereals Canada:

Fusarium very definitely impacts the use in the hog industry and the poultry industry, not so much in the cattle industry although wheat is not typically a big cattle feed but screenings do go that way.

Throughout Manitoba and Saskatchewan winter wheat has been an extremely popular grain, energy source with hog producers and poultry producers especially on the Hutterite colonies.

A lot of Hutterite colonies grow pretty near exclusively winter wheat because of its high yield for their hog farms and their poultry operations so it's been very important.

The feed companies, some buy a lot of winter wheat, others stay away from winter wheat.

Winter wheat runs around 10 to 11 per cent protein typically. Spring wheats run 13, 13.5 to 14.

Some people like getting the protein, other people go for the energy and the winter wheat is typically slightly higher in energy, lower in protein.

Spring wheats, hard red spring wheats tend to be higher in protein, just a touch lower in energy.

Mr Davidson says it is hard to say how much of the winter wheat crop has been impacted by fusarium but in some cases it has been a very high percentage.

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