Ergot reported in southern Queensland sorghum crops

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Sticky honeydew on sorghum panicles infected with Claviceps africana. Image: Mal Ryley

The DAF pathology team has recently received reports of ergot in sorghum panicles growing near Toowoomba in southern Queensland. Sorghum ergot is caused by the fungus Claviceps africana.

The disease can result in poor seed set, lower grain quality, and can cause harvesting issues due to the sticky honeydew on sorghum panicles. Infected grain will be replaced by fungal sclerotes that can be toxic to livestock.

Infection occurs during flowering. Keep an eye out for stickiness on seed heads. Wet weather can cause the honeydew to turn white.

If you see symptoms in sorghum crops and require further information on disease diagnosis, please contact plant pathologist Lisa Kelly ([email protected], 0477 747 040).

Fungal sclerotes fill grain in crops infected with ergot. Image: Mal Ryley

Further information on sorghum ergot: