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Scab of Wheat

Peggy Sellers, Purdue University

This fungal disease of wheat, also known as head blight, is caused by Fusarium spp. (F. graminearum primarily in the Corn Belt). Disease development is favored by warm, moist conditions during flowering and may be more severe where wheat follows corn because the pathogen also causes Giberella ear and stalk rot and corn residue is the main source of inoculum. Affected spikelets appear bleached often with a pale pink or salmon colored tint. Tombstone kernels and barren spikelets can reduce yield and test weight. In addition, grain can be contaminated with toxins produced by the fungus.

There are no currently registered fungicides that are effective against scab. Management of this disease focuses on crop rotation and burying infected residues by plowing. For more information on scab of wheat refer to Issue 9 of Purdue's Pest & Crop Newsletter.

Click on the small image to view a larger image.

Head Scab of Wheat Close-up of Head Scab of Wheat
Scab of Wheat
(Photo by Peggy Sellers)
Close-up of Scab of Wheat
(Photo by Peggy Sellers)

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Last updated: 4 June 2002/tlm.
The Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University.