U.K. Winter Wheat Shows Worst Fungus Symptoms Ever Recorded

Winter wheat in the U.K., which had its wettest summer in a century this year, showed the worst-ever symptoms in the current season of fungal diseases fusarium ear blight and septoria tritici, CropMonitor said.

There was a “marked increase” in ear blight, with 96 percent of field samples displaying symptoms, the crop-quality service said in a report e-mailed today. Some types of fusarium can result in yield losses or the development of mycotoxins, chemicals that can harm humans and animals, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

“Ear blight symptoms were recorded at the highest-ever levels since the survey began,” said CropMonitor, which is run by government and industry groups. Some field samples also showed fusarium on plant stems and nodes, where leaves emerge from stems, according to the report.

Septoria tritici, which also can cut yields, was the most common foliar disease, with 97 percent of crops affected, CropMonitor said. Brown rust was recorded on 17 percent of field samples and tan spot affected 14 percent of crops.

Powdery mildew affected only 4 percent of crops, the lowest level ever recorded and down from last year’s results showing 34 percent of crops were infected.

The U.K. is the third-largest wheat producer in the 27-nation European Union.

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