Organic wheat dodges mycotoxin

Prairie organic producers defied conventional wisdom last year by escaping fusarium scourge. Cody Straza doesnt understand it. Last year when fusarium head blight plagued thousands of conventional farmers in Saskatchewan, Straza and other organic farmers were seemingly protected from the fungal disease.

Straza grew kamut on his farm near Wood Mountain, Sask., and he had few issues with fusarium or the mycotoxins caused by the disease, such as deoxynivalenol (DON).

It was tested for DON and it was accepted without any question, said Straza, who is vice-president of SaskOrganics. Fusarium hasnt been a big issue this winter at organic production meetings in Saskatchewan, he added.

In the organic world its not a priority issue. People are aware of 
it but its not a hot button topic. The lack of concern is odd because fusarium and mycotoxins were a massive issue for conventional cereal growers in Saskatchewan last year.

The 2016 wheat crop was one of the worst on record for fusarium and DON levels in many crop districts on the Prairies.