Ergot (Claviceps purpurea) is a fungal disease that affects wheat, barley, oats, rye, triticale and a wide range of grasses, particularly black-grass.  It infects the ear at flowering and replaces a few spikelets with hard, black fruiting bodies (sclerotia).

Although ergot has very little effect on crop yields, the ergot alkaloids which are produced may have harmful effects on humans and animals.

Ergot sclerotia visible in wheat growing in the field.Cleaning equipment on farms and in grain stores is effective at removing sclerotia from grain.   Flour millers reject grain where ergot can be seen. 

nabim member companies demonstrate ‘due diligence’ by participating in a monitoring project which tests for ergot alkaloids in samples of milling grain.  Results indicate that ergot alkaloid levels in wheat used by millers are extremely low. 


Ergot sclerotia visible in wheat growing in the field.