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U.K. Wheat Survey Finds Signs of Fungus in Most Field Samples

U.K. winter wheat testing found crops showing signs of fungal disease in most field samples, CropMonitor reported.

About 97 percent of wheat samples taken showed symptoms of fusarium head blight, a fungal disease encouraged by wet weather that can reduce yields, the crop-quality service reported on its website today. Non-toxin producing species were responsible for the majority of symptoms, according to the report.

About 45 percent of crops were infected with fusarium graminearum, a fungus that can produce so-called mycotoxins, or chemicals that can be harmful to humans and animals. Four percent of those crops were infected with fusarium graminearum in the ears, or the grain-bearing part of the plant.

“The level of F. graminearum present in crops in 2012 is far greater than the previous high seen in 2008,” CropMonitor wrote. “Crops grown in the East Midlands are at the highest risk of mycotoxin contamination, with F. graminearum infection detected in 84 percent of crops and 8 percent of ears within an infected crop.”

Fields in the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside, as well as in southern and eastern parts of the country, also face a “high risk” of contamination, while fields in the north are at a “low risk,” CropMonitor wrote.

CropMonitor is a service run by the Food & Environment Research Agency, and partners include the Home-Grown Cereals Authority, the Association of Independent Crop Consultants and Bayer AG’s crop-chemical and seeds unit.

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