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Increasing number of wheat fungus incidents in Idaho

By Emily Valla
Published On: Sep 18 2013 06:55:04 PM CDT

Increasing number of wheat fungus incidents in Idaho

Eastern Idaho -

An increasing number of wheat crops have been infected by fungus in Eastern Idaho.

The fungus is nicknamed "headblight", or "scab." One way it's spread is when fields are rotated from corn to wheat.

If more than five parts per million of a crop is infected, the grower suffers. After a certain level of contamination, the grain cannot be sold. With partial contamination, the crop sells for a lot less.

Eating the infected wheat could cause vomiting, but consumers do not need to be concerned.

"It's usually taken care of long before the consumer sees it. A lot of the grain is routinely affected in the Midwest, so this is something we are familiar with, but the incidents of it is increasing in Idaho where we normally don't see it," said Juliet Marshall, University of Idaho extension educator and cereal specialist.

Marshall said that increase is thanks to the hot, dry conditions we had this summer. Combined with irrigation, the humidity allows the fungus to grow. 

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