HGCA issues guidelines to aid in take-all disease fight

New guidelines for growers – including a 12-point summary action plan – have been issued by the HGCA, providing the latest information on managing take-all.

The guide brings together all of HGCA’s research into the disease, which it is estimated affects half of the UK’s wheat crops and costs farming up to £60m a year. It includes analysis of the factors influencing take-all, as well as management options.

Managing take-all should begin much sooner than simply in the year the wheat crop is being grown, according to HGCA research director Graham Jellis. For example, while a one-year break will normally control take-all in a following crop, it does not eliminate the fungus, he says.

“Where the preceding crop suffered a lot of disease, significant inoculum can persist through the break.”

Undermine effectiveness

Cereal volunteers and grass weeds can also undermine the effectiveness of a break. Rothamsted research suggests the take-all index – a combination of incidence and severity – in first wheats nearly doubles where cereal volunteers are left uncontrolled compared with early removal in oilseed rape crops.

The same applies to set-aside. Destroying green cover as soon as permitted helps reduce the risk of take-all in first wheats, the guide says.

For further information and to download a copy of the guidelines visit www.hgca.com


  1. Plan to avoid take-all risk where possible
  2. Correct P, K and Mn deficiency in years before take-all susceptible crop
  3. Control cereal volunteers and grassweeds in break crops
  4. Destroy green covers on set-aside as soon as permitted
  5. Avoid green bridge between successive cereal crops
  6. Consider a seed treatment for crops at risk
  7. Avoid very early drilling of first wheat, if second wheat planned
  8. Avoid poor second wheat varieties, using HGCA Recommended List
  9. Drill into firm seed-bed and possibly plough to reduce effectiveness of inoculum
  10. Drill non-first wheats after mid-October where possible if earlier consider reducing seed rate
  11. Apply adequate N in good time
  12. Consider using early season foliar fungicide active against take-all

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