Covered Smut of Barley

Ustilago segetum var. segetum

Ustilago segetum var. hordei


Dark brown masses of powdery spores or Smut balls replace the grains Barley head. Infected heads sometimes fail to emerge completely or emerge through the sheath below the flag leaf. Infected plants tend to be slightly stunted and mature later.

Species Affected:



Covered Smut spores are deposited on clean seed during threshing and germinate after planting to infect the first leaf of the Barley if the temperature is between 14 and 250C.

Life Cycle:

Spores on grain germinate after planting and infect the Barley plant through its first leaf if temperatures are between 14 and 250C. The fungus grows through the plant and into the developing grain to totally replace it with a sac of spores. This sac is usually broken during grain threshing, releasing a cloud of spores the land on healthy grain.

Origin and History:



Yield loss is proportional to the number of infected.

Grain contaminated with Smut will not be accepted for malting and may damage export markets.

Management and Control:

Use seed from uninfected areas.

Treat seed with a fungicide.

Plant resistant varieties.

Related and Similar Species:

Bunt of Wheat (Ustilago tritici)

Loose Smut of Barley (Ustilago tritici)




Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 for more information.