Barley Pathology

Work Package 1.4 Barley Pathology

Spring barley is the main cereal grown in Scotland with much of the crop going to the malting and distilling markets. Both the quantity and quality of spring barley are affected when fungal disease attacks but spraying crops with fungicide adds to the cost of production, can be harmful to ecosystem and end users are becoming concerned about chemical residues in produce.

The work package aims to develop effective disease management in spring barley through the exploitation of natural host resistance and efficient use of chemicals based on appropriate understanding of key diseases and their epidemiology.

Required outputs

  • Research which improves the control of key diseases which limit barley production.
  • Development of crop protection strategies for key pests and diseases affecting Scottish crops, which will lead to a reduction in pesticide use.
  • Information on host resistance and susceptibility to key diseases affecting Scottish crops which will lead to the development of durable resistance in the field.
  • Development of appropriate sampling strategies, of field-based diagnostics and of validated multiplexed diagnostics for key pests and diseases, for use by industry and/or government (in association with external funding).
  • Consideration of the impact of climate change on crop health in Scotland and identification of future plant health risks.
  • Knowledge transfer on best practice for crop health (in association with external funding).


Examples for progress towards the outputs in the barley pathology work package include:

  • demonstrating that barley seed is a major source of inoculum for both the fungal diseases rhynchosporium and ramularia
  • showing that the characteristics of plant height and leaf angle can influence the severity of rhynchosporium infection and yield loss
  • further advances in the diagnostic for ramularia
  • a series of knowledge transfer events have been held as part of the Success Through Knowledge Campaign organised by SAC.

A full report of progress can be found below.