Rhynchosporium on barley: understanding the relationship between barley varietal resistance, fungicide resistance and the influence of seed-borne infection.

Project number
Simon Oxley, Scottish Agricultural College
Rothamsted Research, BioSS, Queens University Belfast, Scottish Agronomy, Supported by SEERAD through the barley pathology Work
Package at SAC
Start date
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HGCA funding


The problem 

Cost effective management of rhynchosporium in barley has to be a balance between choosing a resistant variety (which also meets market requirements) and the use of fungicides in mixtures and sequences. However, market forces can limit the scope for growers to use resistant varieties. Varietal resistance ratings for some winter barley varieties can be an overestimate when grown at high disease pressure sites. It has been suggested that seed infection is an important disease source and it may impact on varietal resistance and populations of rhynchosporium on resistant varieties can be more sensitive to common fungicides than those on susceptible varieties.

Project aims 

The aim is to understand the role rhynchosporium seed infection plays on varietal resistance and fungicide resistance.


This project will use diagnostics to observe the movement of rhynchosporium in varieties with different varietal resistance in high risk disease sites in different regions of the UK. The results will help determine whether seed infection can change the varietal resistance rating based on assessments taken from naturally infected trials. Produce advice to growers on the importance and management of seed infection and on the best fungicide mixtures to use on both susceptible and resistant varieties for cost effective disease control.  

Benefits to the industry

This project will provide information on the importance seed infection plays on rhynchosporium epidemics, leading to a more accurate forecast of the risk of an early disease outbreak. It will also provide information regarding the potential for triazole resistance to be increased through the use of seed treatments and information on the role that seed infection plays on varietal resistance.

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