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Loose Smut

Field shot & loose smut on an individual ear (Photo C. Norris)

Pathogen

Fungus

Hosts

Barley, wheat and oats

Symptoms

The ear emerges as a black sooty mass of spores. The flag leaf (especially in wheat) often becomes discoloured.

Development

Infection arises solely from infected seed. The seeds become infected at harvest time when spores from infected ears land on open flowers and infect the developing grains.

Favourable Factors

Cool, wet conditions that prolong the flowering period and therefore increase the opportunity for grain infection.

Importance

Has been known for yield reduction to be up to 25% but 1% to 3% more common.

Control

Use clean certified seeds and effective seed treatments.

Identification and Management of cereal diseases

Find out more information on the key disease threats to your cereal crop. For each disease you will find out the importance of the disease in terms of potential yield penalty, how to identify the disease in its early stages and our advice on the best control strategies.

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