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Snow Mould

Snow Mould

Snow Mould

Monographella nivalis (Microdochium nivale)


Barley, wheat, oats, rye and triticale.


This disease can be detected in the autumn, but it is most apparent in the spring after a snow thaw.
Seedlings are deformed into a corkscrew shape and many do not penetrate the soil surface. Those that do emerge have a whiteish-pink mycelium at their bases.
After snow thaw, patches of withered plants covered in a mass of pink mycelium are apparent. The plants that survive never fully recover and ears are often blind contained shrivelled grain.
During the summer, spores arising from diseased plants may settle on the ears or leaves and lesions develop at the point of infection. This late infection does not reduce yield, but in the case of ear infection grain becomes contaminated and should not be used as seed. 


The infection comes from seed or soil and spores are spread by the wind.

Favourable Factors

Low temperature and high relative humidity.


Mainly a disease of winter barley, especially in Scotland where snow is more prevalent.
Yield can be reduced by 20% in snowy upland areas and grain can be shrivelled.


• Clean disease free seed
• Fungicidal seed treatment

Snow Mould On Wheat Plants CibSnow mould on wheat plants
Snow Mould Michro Nivale CibSnow mould, microdochium nivale, ear infection
Snow Mould M Nivale Wht CibTypical leaf symptoms
Snow Mould M Nivale CibSevere infection on young plants
Snow Mould A2 CibSnow mould ear infections

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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