Importance of Loose Smut [Ustilago nuda (Jensen) Rostrup] of Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) in Western Amhara Region, Ethiopia
Abstract: Barley occupies 10.72, 7.23 and 5.78% of the total land allocated for cereal crops in South Gondar, West Gojam and Awi Zones, respectively. This contributes to 9.19, 5.29 and 3.58% of the total cereal crop production in each zone, respectively. However, barley production has been constrained by different biotic and abiotic factors, of which loose smut [Ustilago nuda (Jensen) Rostrup] is the major biotic factor in the study areas. This piece of work was carried out to assess the level of loose smut incidence at field and on farmers’ saved barley seeds. The field survey was done by randomly taking barley fields to determine the loose smut incidence level in the three zones of western Amhara Region (Awi, South Gondar and West Gojam) during the 2014 main cropping season. The seed health test on randomly taken farmers’ saved barley seeds was conducted following the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) 2014 rules. It was found that a minimum incidence of 1.17 to 2.00% and maximum incidence ranging from 4.04 to 10.64% occurred at field level, whereas seeds collected from these zones for embryo test in the laboratory showed the minimum seed infection of 8.35% and maximum infection of 25.65%. It can be concluded that loose smut infection rates in the surveyed areas were high. Hence, selecting disease-free barley seeds and screening resistant varieties together with seed treatments with selected fungicides need to be promoted to tackle loose smut and to sustain barley production.
Keywords: Barley; Hordeum vulgare; Loose Smut; Seed Treatment; Ustilago nuda
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