The following harvest and storage management tips for dwarf bunt infected fields can help increase sample quality:
- Cut high with the combine
Wheat infected with dwarf bunt will be substantially shorter than healthy plants. Raising the header will reduce the amount of bunt balls harvested.
- Harvest below 15%
Bunt balls and spores that are dry tend to be sent out of the combine easier. The wetter the grain, the more likely bunt spores will adhere to it. Removing wet spore balls through the combine is very difficult since they are very heavy.
- Combine wind-blast set at maximum
Turning the wind-blast settings up will remove a large portion of the bunt balls. Minimal good grain will be lost at maximum wind.
- Harvest fence rows and bush areas separately
Infection is most severe where snow was the deepest and stayed the longest. Harvesting those areas separately from the rest of the field should minimize the number of bunt balls in the sample.
- Clean grain before storage
It is important to remove as many bunt balls as possible from the sample before storage. Bunt balls will rupture during grain handling or removal from the bin. Bunt balls are similar in size to wild buckwheat seed. Therefore, screens that remove wild buckwheat should remove many of the bunt balls in the sample.
- Put grain into the bin with full aeration
It will take an extended period of aeration to remove the odour from the sample.
- Finally, store infected wheat separately!