There are two main types of Smut present in Alberta: Loose and Covered Smut. Both are a fungal disease, but Loose Smut is internally seed-borne and Covered Smut is externally seed-borne.

What are the Risks?

Fortunately, due to fungicidal seed treatments, the incidents of Smut infection have declined dramatically. However, there are still isolated cases in the County that surface every year due to lack of proper seed treatment. If left unchecked, this disease can reduce yield significantly.

What to look for

  Smut  Loose Smut in Barley

Loose Smut vs. Covered Smut   Loose Smut in barley

  Smut  Smut

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 fields 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; and
  • Rotate fungicides from year to year.

Related Links

Alberta Barley Smut

Oat Growers Smut disease management