Snow mould not only occurs in wheat and barley, but also in rye and triticale. However, the correct selection of variety, proper seed treatment, the right choice of fungicide and good incorporation of crop residues can help to fight the disease.
Snow mould is often discovered once snow disappears from the crop after winter. It can be recognized by its pink mycelium and can cause serious losses among plants. More symptoms appear on plants later in the season: grey patches on the stems and watery spots on leaves which turn brown later on. Snow mould is also part of the ‘fungal complex’ that causes Fusarium Head Blight.
Remarkably, little is known about this widespread fungal disease. According to Dr Michael Hess, phytopathologist at the University of Munich, snow mould nowadays is a complex of Microdochium nivale and Microdochium majus, which can both damage the cereal crop. Research on this disease is important because snow mould appears to have become more evident in fields during the last few years. “Snow mould is a complex disease, influenced by many different factors. Favorable circumstances are wet, cool periods in summer,” explains Dr Hess.