Research Station Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon ART, CH-8046 Zurich

Alternative control of snow mold (Microdochium nivale) in organic wheat

In the certification of organic wheat seed, the required germination capacity is often not achieved. This is frequently due to excessively high infestation with the snow mould pathogen Microdochium nivale. A warm-water treatment effectively controlled infestation on the seed. Owing to the high expenditure of energy for redrying, however, this method has not caught on in practice. Dressing with the bacterial product Cerall® is only partially successful in controlling seed infestation with M. nivale. In a laboratory screening with various plant-based products, a preparation (‚B‘ ) showed a good inhibitory effect on the mycelial growth of M. nivale. Moreover, in several in vivo trials in the climate chamber and in field trials, the treatment of seed with powder from the preparation ‘B’ demonstrated significant effects. The compound not only improved seedling emergence, but reduced also yield losses. The challenge is to develop the formulation to the point where the preparation ‚B‘ can be used as a product in large-scale dressing.

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