Germinating sclerotia were observed at several research sites in the Hermiston, OR area today. Grass seed growers and crop consultants can assume that ergot spores are currently present in the area.
Perennial ryegrass varieties are not yet flowering and susceptible to ergot, but earlier-flowering cultivars of Kentucky bluegrass may be ready for a fungicide application if ergot is a concern in your area.
For maximum ergot control, fungicide applications should be timed to occur at the beginning of or immediately prior to flowering. Cultivars with long flowering periods may require (an) additional application(s).
More information on fungicide options for ergot in the Pacific Northwest can be found in the Pacific Northwest Disease Management Handbook: https://pnwhandbooks.org/plantdisease/host-disease/grass-seed-ergot .
Acknowledgement: This research is funded by the Eastern Oregon Kentucky Bluegrass Working Group, the Jefferson County Seed Growers Association, the Oregon Department of Agriculture Alternatives for Field Burning Research Financial Assistance Program, the Oregon Seed Council, the Union County Seed Growers Association, and the Washington Turfgrass Seed Commission.