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Ergot

Ergot

Description

  • 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

Symptoms

  •  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 

Damage

  • 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

Control

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.