MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas, along with numerous other states across the United States, was dealt severe rainfall and abnormal weather conditions this spring and early summer. The rainfall and cool temperatures invited a breeding ground for various diseases, most notably Fusarium head blight (head scab).
“When you have tombstone kernels, that means along with it you will have other seed that’s going to look perfectly normal, but it’s going to have some infection in the seed coat,” Fabrizius said.
Seed that has infection, but does not show signs, is generally still alive and may become an issue for growers when planted. As the infected seed starts to germinate, the fungus begins to grow, too, Fabrizius said. It then becomes a race of which is going to win – the seedling or the fungus.
If you do not plan to purchase new seed, it’s critical to take precautions to make sure you are eliminating the chance of the disease resurfacing and getting the most out of the seed as possible.