Munger, H., Vanasse, A., Rioux, S. and Légère, A. 2014. Bread wheat performance, fusarium head blight incidence and weed infestation response to low-input conservation tillage systems in eastern Canada. Can. J. Plant Sci. 94: 193-201. Bread wheat performance, the incidence of diseases like fusarium head blight (FHB) and weed infestations may be affected by low-input systems and conservation tillage practices. This 2-yr study assessed the effects of three 24-yr-old tillage treatments (MP: moldboard plow; CP: chisel plow; NT: no-till) and two cropping systems (high-input: herbicide and mineral fertilizer; low-input: mechanical weed control and organic fertilizer) on wheat productivity, deoxynivalenol (DON) content, Fusarium graminearum inoculum production, and weed infestation in hard red spring wheat. In 2009, low-input CP and NT yields were 13 and 31% lower, respectively, than low-input MP yield, which was comparable with all of the high-input treatment yields. In 2010, yields were 23% lower in CP and NT compared with MP, and 32% lower in low-input than in high-input systems. Optimum wheat yield in low-input systems appeared conditional to adequate weed control, which was achieved with MP and CP tillage. Protein content, test weight, and 1000-kernel weight were higher in the high-input system than in the low-input system, except for test weight in 2009. DON content was not affected by tillage in either year, and was lower in low-input system than in high-input system in 2009. Fusarium graminearum inoculum measured in 2009 was similar across tillage treatments in the high-input system, whereas in the low-input system, the inoculum was lower in NT than in MP. In 2010, DON content was not affected by any treatment. Hot and dry conditions were not conducive to pathogen development, and may explain the low level of DON and the lack of treatment effect.
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Vol. 94 • No. 2