‘Take-all is the number 1 second-cereal threat’

Take-all is the biggest threat to second-winter cereals, according to Tim Eaton of Certis, who spoke at Goldcrop’s recent autumn technical meeting.

Warm and dry years, like 2018, are ideal to bring the problem to light, as affected roots cannot supply the plant with moisture.

Farmers who have noticed a take-all problem in their crops should look at their rotation this season and use cultural control, as well as chemical, to get the problem under wraps.

A few of the key signs are listed below; but if farmers are unsure if the crop is affected with take-all, the best thing to do is pull up the roots and see if they have turned black in colour.

Signs of take-all include:
  • Whiteheads;
  • Stunted plants;
  • Poor grain fill;
  • Premature ripening.

Reducing levels of inoculum

A key part of take-all control is reducing the levels of inoculum in the soil. Delaying sowing can significantly reduce levels in the soil, while ploughing and proper seedbed preparation will also reduce amounts present.

Risk factors in take-all:
  • Soil type – 16%;
  • Sowing date – 17%;
  • Crop rotation – 33%;
  • Climate – 34%.

Seed dressing

Seed dressing will help to control the disease. However, it must be used along with the cultural control methods mentioned above.

Eaton works for Certis, the company that produces Latitude seed dressing, which works by forming protection around the seed in the soil.

While Eaton stated that Latitude is “the only product that will produce defence to take-all”, he also added that an integrated pest management strategy is needed.

This includes taking account of the factors mentioned above such as: sowing date; rotation; and soil type. Climate is beyond our control.