Take-all in winter wheat - management guidelines (HGCA Autumn 2006)

Management

Crop rotation

A well-managed one-year break normally controls take-all in a following cereal. Any broad-leaved crop will form an effective break, as will oats, unless the rare oat-attacking strain of the fungus is present.

However, a one-year break does not eliminate the fungus. Where the preceding cereal crop suffered a lot of disease, significant inoculum may persist through the break. Cereal volunteers and grass carriers also undermine the effectiveness of a break.

A first wheat after set-aside is usually not affected by severe take-all, provided all green cover is effectively destroyed as soon as permitted. In a wheat/set-aside rotation the risk of severe take-all may increase with the number of cycles.

Preceding a short sequence of cereals with a two-year ryegrass ley encourages antagonistic fungi to develop. This usually delays the onset of severe takeall by a year, allowing an extra wheat crop to be grown with reduced risk of severe take-all. However, a one-year ryegrass cover may increase severity.

A catch crop of a nitrogen-demanding crop, eg white mustard, sown after the volunteers have been destroyed may further reduce take-all survival and increase the effectiveness of set-aside as a cereal break.

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