Fusarium head blight

Fusarium head blight


  • Causes a head infection rather than root or crown disease
  • Durum wheats are highly susceptible
  • Occurs after prolonged wet weather 


  • Premature bleaching of individual or several spikelets within a head
  • Infected wheat grains have a chalky white appearance and are usually shrivelled and light weight
  • During prolonged warm, humid weather infection also produces salmon pink/orange spore masses at the bases of infected spikelets


  • Yield penalties can be severe if heavy infection is present


Rotation with non pulse or oil seed crops, and avoidance of sowing durum wheat in close rotation with maize are stratefies that can be very effective.The control of grass weeds in the fallow and the use of resistant wheat varities can also be beneficial. Application of fungicides at early flowering can reduce the severity of infection. Using clean seed, or treating infected seed with thiram + carboxin will help to prevent seedling blight.

Links and Resources

DAFF QLD - Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) or Head Scab

Introduction, symptoms, identification, survival, spread,  management, grain utilisation, and grain quality. Updated 2012.

DPI NSW - Root and Crown Diseases of Wheat and Barley.

Page 6 of 8 page PDF. Information on onset and distribution, symptoms, and management. Published 2005.