Sooty moulds usually become apparent in late summer, prior to harvest when the entire ear starts to turn a dark colour.
Look out for:
- Parts of the ear turning black
- General discolouration of the ear
- Warm, humid weather
Infection is via wind borne spores with spores of these diseases being a common component of the air.
This disease is often associated with white heads resulting from stem based diseases.
Sooty moulds tend to be worse when the weather in late summer is warm and humid.
Yield losses from sooty mould infection are rarely great but discolouration of grain can reduce the commercial value of the grain and make it harder to sell.