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Loose smut outbreak 'not caused by resistance'

Last year’s outbreak of loose smut in winter barley treated with various different fungicidal seed treatments does not appear to have been caused by resistance developing to the active ingredients in the seed treatments, according to Bayer.

Initial laboratory studies by Bayer on barley seed stocks used in outbreak fields and confirmed by seed testing prior to the lab studies as infected with loose smut, have shown no evidence of resistance.

 

Five hundred untreated and 500 seeds treated with Bayer’s fungicidal seed treatment Raxil Star (fluopyram + prothioconazole + tebuconazole) grown in the lab, had leaves tested for the presence of Ustilago nuda, the fungus that causes loose smut. The results showed a clear reduction of loose smut in the treated seeds with efficacy of over 90 per cent.


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Ongoing field trials results should provide a conclusive assessment.

 

The studies were commissioned after loose smut was detected in winter barley crops that had been treated with azole-based single purpose dressings (SPDs).

Weather

 

Claire Matthewman, campaign manager for seed treatments, Bayer says the cause was likely to be the result of a perfect storm of weather during and following establishment.

 

“Higher temperatures accelerate growth of the loose smut fungus. In this exceptional case, it is thought that the fungus may have grown so rapidly that the seedling was unable to uptake the azole active quickly enough to control the disease in some plants.”

Basics

 

Mrs Matthewman’s recommends winter barley growers to take a ‘back to basics’ approach next season, testing seed to make sure it is within the certified limits for loose smut and is in good overall condition.

This approach will help to ensure that the seed is viable for planting and suitable for a seed treatment to be applied, giving the best opportunity to establish a successful crop.

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