Funny Things Happening In Spartacus CL Barley – ‘Spartacus Leaf Tipping’

24 July 2019 Barley News

Has anyone noticed funny things happening in their Spartacus CL barley this year? If so, you are not alone. Growers and agronomists have observed Spartacus CL crops showing leaf tipping symptoms this year, occurring on many soil types – making some growers feel ‘uneasy’.

The vast majority of concerns have been from South Australia, particularly the Yorke Peninsula and Eyre Peninsula regions.

InterGrain barley breeder, David Moody first noticed ‘Spartacus Leaf Tipping’ (SLT) in trials at Cummins in 2015.

He said he initially thought it was caused by either spot form net blotch (SFNB) or net form net blotch (NFNB), but he no longer holds this view.

After ruling out a pathogenic basis for the symptoms, David thought the SLT symptoms may be nutritional. However, this season the symptoms have been observed anywhere from central NSW through to WA, on a range of soil types.

“The presence of SLT symptoms on such a range of soil types probably rules out this cause as well.”

David says the Spartacus Leaf Tipping seems quite mysterious.

“I have never seen any relationship between the presence of SLT symptoms and Spartacus CL’s yield relative to other varieties. But I would like to know what it is!”

“Regardless of what it is, in my experience Spartacus CL grows out of it by mid to late August, where it is hardly noticeable (older canopy only) and by mid-September it is basically undetectable.”

While SLT can be similar in appearance to some leaf diseases – in particular SFNB, it is important to recognise the distinguishing features (See photos below).

  • SFNB infection generally occurs on younger leaves and the symptoms gradually spread through the whole crop canopy.
  • SLT symptoms tend to occur only on older leaves.
  • SLT generally doesn’t contain classic lesions. It tends to contain areas with necrosis but has indistinct borders.

Growers are encouraged to keep an eye on a specific area as the leaf tipping should not progress as the crop develops.

According to South Australian agricultural consultant, Andy Bates, there is a high level of confidence that SLT is not nutritional or disease related.

“We are fairly confident it is not nutritional as extensive tissue testing has been carried out on client’s properties.”

He also said that applying a fungicide under good growing conditions can certainly make the SLT expression more noticeable.

If you notice Spartacus Leaf Tipping symptoms in your barley crops, InterGrain encourages you to contact your local agronomist or plant pathologist for further analysis.

If you have any comments, concerns or are wanting to find out more on this topic, please don’t hesitate to contact David Moody on 0417 051 707 or

Spartacus CL barley showing leaf tipping symptoms in Narrandera, NSW. Photo courtesy of Dave Sergeant.

Spartacus CL barley showing Spartacus Leaf Tipping (SLT) symptoms at Narrandera, NSW. Photo courtesy of Dave Sergeant.

Spartacus CL showing Spot Form Net Blotch (SFNB) symptoms at Corrigin, Western Australia. Photo courtesy of David Moody.

Spartacus CL barley showing Spot Form Net Blotch (SFNB) symptoms at Corrigin, Western Australia. Photo courtesy of David Moody.