Fusarium Head Blight (FHB)
Also sometimes known as scab or tombstone, FHB is a disease that affects wheat, barley, oats, and other cereals. FHB is a serious disease, causing potentially significant reductions in yield, grade and quality of crops. It can also cause restrictions in future crop rotations and marketing opportunities, as the higher the levels of vomitoxin (DON) present in the crop, the more limited potential markets become. Farmers are advised to monitor their crops for this disease and introduce management and control practices when needed. FHB is favoured by warm and moist conditions during flowering. FHB symptoms may affect individual or many spikelets within a head. Infected kernels are identifiable by their white or pinkish colour and shriveled appearance. Infected spikelets may appear to be bleached prematurely.
Wireworms
Wireworms are a threat to barley crops as they feed on germinating seeds and underground parts, shredding the stems but seldom cutting them off. Severe damage results in thin patchy stands. The central leaves die but outer plant leaves often remain green for some time.

Although barley is more tolerant to wireworm damage than wheat or rye, it will be damaged when infestations are heavy, such as on new breaking of grassland. Current seed treatments may kill wireworm or stall their development. Shallow seeding into moisture and firm packing will effectively prevent damage when populations are low.
Appearance
Wireworms are slender, hard-bodied, shiny, yellow worms, that can grow to approximately 2.5 cm (one inch) in length. Wireworm eggs are laid by adult beetles in the spring and larvae may remain in the soil for five to 10 years before pupating and emerging as adult click beetles in early summer. Populations build up slowly but fields remain infested for years if larvae are not controlled.
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Wireworms
Slender, hard-bodied, shiny, yellow worms, that can grow to approximately 2.5 cm in length.
Cutworms
Cutworms are a threat to barley crops as they feed on plants and cut them off just at or below the ground surface. Damage is most severe when plants are in the seedling or early tillering stages. Damage can be controlled by discouraging egg laying. Leaving summerfallow undisturbed during August to mid-September reduces egg laying by pale western cutworm moths which lay at this time into loose and dusty soil. The redbacked cutworm will lay in weedy fallow and weedy patches in crops, therefore, weedy summerfallow in parkland areas could be worked during this period. Young larvae of both species can be starved in the spring by destroying green growth 10-14 days before seeding. Because late seeding will result in lower yields, seed during the optimum time and use a chemical control if necessary for cutworm control.
Appearance
Cutworms are fleshy, soft-bodied worms that curl up and remain motionless when disturbed. Fully grown, they are about 3 to 5 cm (1.15 - 2 inches) long. The most common species are the pale western cutworm, most prevalent in grassland areas, and the redbacked cutworm, prevailing mainly in parkland areas. Other cutworms include the dingy cutworm, army cutworm and the glassy cutworm.
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Redbacked cutworms
Fleshy, soft-bodied worms about 3 to 5 cm long when fully grown.
Grasshoppers
Grasshoppers can periodically damage barley crops, especially in dry years. Damage is most severe during dry periods in the early stages of crop growth.

Grasshopper eggs hatch in the spring and depending on species, eggs may be laid on roadsides or headlands, or scattered throughout stubble fields. When grasshoppers first hatch in breeding areas such as roadsides and headlands, they can be controlled by early applications of insecticides to these relatively small areas. Relatively cool and moist growing conditions reduce grasshopper feeding and encourage crop growth, allowing the barley to keep ahead of damage. Seeding early and producing a vigorous crop assists in reducing damage.
Appearance
A grasshopper's adult length is 1 to 7 cm, depending on the species. They have chewing mouthparts, two pairs of wings, one narrow and tough, the other wide and flexible, and long hind legs for jumping.
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Grasshoppers
An insect ranging from 1 to 7 cm, depending on the species, two pairs of wings and long hind legs for jumping.
Scald
(Rhynchosporium secalis) Barley scald is a leaf disease that spreads and develops best in cool, humid weather.

Scald can first be recognized by light green oval or lens-shaped spots on the leaves that quickly dry to white areas with brown margins. Yields are affected only when the top two leaves are damaged, as lower leaves do not contribute directly to grain filling.
Control methods
  • employing responsible crop rotation
  • choosing varieties with moderate to good resistance
  • burying crop residue
  • applying foliar fungicide at an early enough stage to help control the disease
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Scald
Caused by the fungus Rhynchosporium secalis. Can cause significant yield losses in cooler, wet seasons.
Net blotch
(Drechslera terms) Net blotch is a major threat to crops, as it can seriously reduce yields. The greater the infection is to the upper leaves and heads of your crop, the greater your loss will be. The disease comes from infected stubble, and can survive as long as infected stubble is present. The infection is transported by rain and wind. Ideal conditions for the development of this disease include high humidity and warm temperatures. Symptoms of the disease are most commonly found on leaves but can also be found on leaf sheaths, and include brown spots that are circular or elliptical in shape. In the case of netted net blotch, these marks will develop into longer brown streaks that resemble nets and may be surrounded by yellow borders.
Control methods
  • employing responsible crop rotation
  • choosing varieties with moderate to good resistance
  • burying crop residue
  • applying foliar fungicide at an early enough stage to help control the disease
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Net blotch
Caused by pyrenophora terms, a necrotrophic fungal pathogen of some plant species.

Know your region

For more information on identifying and controlling these insects and diseases, contact your local Ministry of Agriculture office.