Cereal cyst nematode

Cereal cyst nematode


  • CCN has a narrow host range that is limited to cereals and some grass weeds

  • 1 wild oat or cereal plant per mis enough to maintain a high population in the soil

  • CCN survives between susceptible cereal crops as eggs inside protective cysts that form on the roots of host plants

  • In the autumn, nematodes hatch from eggs in response to moisture and low temperatures


  • Plants infected with CCN become stunted and yellowed

  • Primary roots become abnormally branched and knotted

  • Small (1-2 mm in diameter) white 'cysts' become attached to the root


  • Yield is reduced due to water and nutrient stresses caused by abnormal development of roots


Host plants, particularly wild oats and susceptible self sown cereals, must be controlled before the nematodes have completed the development of eggs, or within 10 weeks after the autumn break. Timing of host removal is critical when establishing a disease break. In calculating the critical date to chemical fallow or remove host species from break crops consideration should be given to the time taken for host plants to die after herbicide application. Nematodes will continue to feed until the plant is dead. The use of resistant cereals and non-host crops, or fallow in rotations as part of a two year break is an effective method to control CCN.

Links and Resources

DEPI VIC - Cereal cyst nematode

The section on cereal cyst nematode has information on symptoms, survival, host range, lifecycle, conditions that exacerbate outbreaks, and control methods. Published 1996, updated 2013, reviewed 2013.

Victorian winter crop summary 2014 - Cereal cyst nematode

Table 6: Wheat disease guide. Page 11. Causal organism, symptoms, occurrence, inoculum source, and control. Updated annually.