What is DON?
Deoxynivalenol (DON), commonly referred to as Vomitoxin, is a mycotoxin that may be
produced in wheat, corn and barley grain infected by Fusarium head blight (FHB) or scab. FHB
may infect grain heads when wet weather occurs during the flowering and grain filling stages of
plant development. The occurrence of FHB does not automatically mean that DON is present,
but a high level of scabby kernels in the harvested grain means DON will likely be present.
Levels of DON do not necessarily correlate with levels of physical damage in grain.
How does DON impact wheat grain quality and product performance?
FHB infection during very early kernel development can reduce yield by decreasing kernel
numbers. Slightly later infections cause shrunken, chalky white or discolored scabby kernels,
which often are referred to as tombstones. Kernels infected late in their development by FHB
may show no visible damage, but still have elevated levels of DON.
What can I do to prevent DON in the future?
o Cultivation when coming out of a grass crop such as corn or oats
o Choosing a wheat variety that is tolerant (no variety is immune)
o Planting high quality certified seed, especially following a year with high cases of FHB
o Proper timing of Fungicide application such as Prosaro™