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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 9 No. 5, p. 586-588
    Received: Feb 8, 1969

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Effects of Loose Smut Infection and Vitavax Seed Treatment on Barley Yields1

  1. G. L. Stoker and
  2. W. G. Dewey2



The effect of loose smut caused by Ustilago nuda (Jens.) Rostr. on barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) yields, its control by Vitavax, and the possible direct effect of Vitavax on yields were studied with 10 seedlots of ‘Gem’ barley ranging in infection from .03 to 22%.

Yield losses were roughly proportional to percent infection; however, there was a tendency for percent infection to exceed percent yield loss at the higher smut levels. The percentage of loose smut in each of the 10 seedlots was determined by means of the embryo test, as well as by a corresponding field planting. The embryo test appeared to be a good, although a slightly conservative, predictor of field infection.

Seed treatment with Vitavax gave 100% control of loose smut over the range of infection tested. The beneficial effect of Vitavax in controlling loose smut was partially offset by an apparent direct adverse effect on yield. At very low levels of infection the yield reduction due to Vitavax treatment exceeded the benefit derived from the smut control. As infection levels rose above 5%, Vitavax treatment increased yields; however this increase did not reach statistical significance until loose smut levels approached 20%. Vitavax-treated plots had significantly fewer tillers than did untreated plots.

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