NDSU Extension Cereal Plant Pathologist Andrew Friskop confirms there are reports of ergot in the North Dakota wheat crop from Carrington to Wishek and toward Bismarck. The fungal pathogen is always around and with the right conditions, it can come back. Friskop says the disease prefers wet, cool weather. “It’s very similar to scab, but it just has an infection point sooner in the flowering process and in cooler conditions. My gut instinct is although maybe some of the main stems avoided infections, some of the tillers are likely what may have gotten some of the ergot bodies starting to show.” Friskop tells farmers to scout for ergot on the outer edge of fields. Look for irregular black structures that have replaced wheat kernels. He says it’s usually more severe along the outer edges. Ergot bodies can also fall into the soil and grassy weeds at harvest, surviving over winter. (Photo submitted by Terry Wanzek) Read more about ergot clean up.