02 May 2018

Improved Plant Nutrition Helps Moroccan Farmers Control Wheat Crown Rot

Wheat crown rot is a fungal disease that results in significant economic loss in Morocco and in wheat-growing areas around the world. The disease is caused by the soil-borne fungus Fusarium culmorum. Ultimately the fungus causes the heads of wheat plants to turn white and die prematurely. This disease is commonly known as “whitehead”, and is easily identified in the field. These whiteheads contain either no grain or only shriveled kernels. In the dryland wheat production areas of Morocco, crown rot reduces yields for many farmers. Earlier research has linked the severity of crown rot with drought conditions and unbalanced plant nutrition. Efforts to control crown rot have been limited by a poor understanding of the interacting factors associated with crop management and disease development, especially the benefits of balanced nutrition.