Fusarium head blight risk mapping


Showcasing technology demonstrations at Innovation Farms

2023 Season, EMILI, University of Manitoba

During Innovation Farms' 2023 season, EMILI examined the similarities and differences between two Fusarium head blight (FHB) risk models; a publicly available tool created by University of Manitoba researchers, and Metos Canada’s disease model subscription accessed through an on-farm weather station.

Insights from Metos Canada’s risk model

During the 2023 growing season, EMILI's Innovation Farms team gathered information from the subscription-based Metos Canada’s Fusarium disease risk model which is generated using data from a local field weather station. These IoT monitoring devices and sensors help us determine exactly what local field-specific conditions are, which reduces trips to the field and helps us make timely decisions. This model is based on peer-reviewed research and looks for certain periods of temperature, relative humidity, and leaf wetness to assess FHB risk.

Metos FHB Risk Mapping Tool
Metos FHB Risk Mapping Tool shows data collected 1 ½ km apart

Previous studies have shown that weather devices that are only 1 ½ kilometres apart and in different crops have completely different environmental conditions for disease development, and the sensitivity of the model confirms these results (see image above which shows side by side results for two stations located at AIM’s field of excellence and at their main office).

The results of this field trial are outlined in the Metos Use Case Report, In-field Fusarium Risk: the Yield and Quantity Thief.

Insights from University of Manitoba’s made-in-Manitoba risk mapping tool

FHB Risk as of June 30, 2023
FHB Risk as of June 30, 2023

Dr Paul Bullock, a senior scholar in the University of Manitoba’s soil science department has been working on a FHB risk mapping tool for the last five years.

It is accessible through a tablet, phone, or computer. There are 121 of these stations across Manitoba including the Stonewall and Woodlands stations which are the nearest ones to Innovation Farms.

The disease risk model uses real-time weather data to assess the risk of FHB infection. It gathers data from over 500 weather stations across the prairies. All three Prairie provinces use these stations to provide farmers with weekly FHB risk maps. This provides an important overview of potential risks, however the further away the station is, the less accurate it will be. According to Timi Ojo, an agricultural systems modeler with Manitoba Agriculture, each grid cell on the tool represents a 10 km radius.

Forecasts using an on-farm weather station are the most accurate, but it is not always economically possible for farmers to install unique weather stations across their farms. This model provides an overview that can help inform decisions in a way that would otherwise not be accessible to them. Manitoba Agriculture posts these FHB risk maps daily throughout the season.

For more information on these two risk models, see EMILI's July 2023 blog post.

This page part of an archive of past activities. To learn more about EMILI's ongoing work to test and validate new technologies, demonstrate the productivity and sustainability of commercialized technologies, and accelerate the adoption of digital tools, visit Innovation Farms.