Charcoal Rot In Sorghum

Sorghum-Cotton 013

We were looking at sorghum where damage form WSCA has been evident. But also seeing heads and stalks that are brown. The brown color on the outside and inside of the stalk turned out to be Charcoal Rot (Macrophomina phaseolina). Grain sorghum plants affected by this fungus won’t fill grain properly and may lodge in the latter part of the season. Infected stalks show an internal shredding at and above the ground line. When you split the stalk, you can see the small black dots from microsclerotia (below):

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Below is information regarding control from UGA Extension Grain Pathologist Dr. Alfredo Martinez:

“Charcoal rot is particularly damaging under hot, dry weather specially post-flowering periods. Therefore maintaining soil moisture during these periods can help minimize the incidence of the disease. A balanced fertility program is beneficial, high N and low K should be avoided. Excessive plant populations should be also avoided. Growing drought tolerant sorghum can reduce losses.”

Microsclerotia under dissecting microscope

Microsclerotia under dissecting microscope

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Filed under Disease, Grain Sorghum