Crop: Wheat


Gaeumannomyces graminis var. tritici

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Take-all is a wheat disease that infects the plant's roots, blocking the conductive tissue and reducing water uptake. Early signs of the disease include stunting and yellowing. Plants mature earlier, may have fewer tillers and can be recognised by the characteristic ‘white heads’ that appear within a healthy crop.

Photo of take-all patches in wheat

Large circular patches of premature white heads are often seen.The roots of diseased plants are black in colour, and the base of the stems may also exhibit this symptom. Affected plants are easy to pull out of the ground due to poor root development. Take-all is a wheat disease that infects the plant's roots.

Life cycle

Early sown crops are more prone to infection. Take-all survives in the soil on infected cereal and grass residues. The fungus on these residues then infects the root tissue of young plants. Take-all can also form hyphae which spread the disease through the soil between plants, and for this reason the disease is often seen in patches.

Disease levels build up where successive cereal crops are grown or if grass weed control is poor. Grass control in preceding crops should occur early to give root residues an adequate chance of breaking down. Summer rainfall can enhance decomposition of root matter in the soil provided volunteer weeds are controlled throughout this period.


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