Diseases in Wheat - In Crop
Ergot affects many grass species including cultivated cereals
Ergot is relatively rare in Australian grains, however it is considered a constant threat as it contains toxic chemicals (alkaloids) that are very harmful to both animals and humans
Ergot pieces have a purple – black surface with a white to grey interior
They are usually horn like in shape and replace one or more grains in the heads of cereals and grasses
Crops affected by Ergot generally do not experience significant yield losses
Economic losses can be quite severe when grain tendered by growers is rejected at receival
For grain that is contaminated with pieces of Ergot, grain-cleaning equipment can be used to remove the majority of Ergot bodies. For prevention the use of crop rotations away from cereals for at least one year, and the managment of grass weeds that act as hosts to Ergot are both effective management strategies. During planting clean seed must be used, as there is currently no effective treatments against Ergot.
Links and Resources
AWB - Wheat Quality Fact Sheet - Ergot
Information on AWB recieval standards, nature, cause, impact, and what can be done.