Smut

There are two main types of Smut present in Alberta, Loose and Covered Smut. They are both a fungal disease, Loose Smut is internally seed-borne and Covered Smut is externally seed-borne. Fortunately, due to fungicidal seed treatments, the incidents of Smut infection have declined dramatically. There are isolated cases here in the County that surface every year due to lack of proper seed treatment. If left unchecked, this disease is capable of reducing yield significantly.

Covered Smut Disease Life Cycle

What To Look For

Loose Smut vs. Covered Smut Loose Smut in barley
Loose Smut in wheat Loose Smut in oats

Prevention

Although Smuts have not been a big concern in this area, we need to be diligent and proactive in ensuring that all precautionary measures are taken to avoid any outbreaks. Every year there are a few fields that are found with varying degrees of infestation. Here are some recommendations on how to reduce the chance of infection:

  • Plant cleaned, smut-free seed from a good source, preferably certified
  • Use the most resistant varieties available
  • Thoroughly treat seed with registered fungicide at recommended rate
  • Rotate fungicides from year to year