Mildew damage (MIL)
Mildew is indicated by grey discolouration on the brush or distal end of the kernel. Mildew damage is a visual grading factor. As mildew damage increases, it begins to encompass the entire kernel.
Procedure for assessment
Mildew damaged kernels in a sample are considered a subjective grading factor. The overall soundness of the sample is taken into consideration and compared to the standard sample.
Mildew is a fungal condition that affects wheat, barley and a number of other grains. It develops in unthreshed kernels of grain, usually under conditions of excessive moisture.
It should not be confused with the disease powdery mildew, which attacks the leaves, reducing yield.
Because mildew is associated with weathering and sprout damage, it is difficult to fully differentiate quality effects from those due to sprout damage. Flour milling performance is lower because flour is darker. Although moderate mildew damage is apparently not a major quality factor, it serves as a very useful flag for wet harvest conditions and potential sprout damage. The discoloration of the seed coat also can be an aesthetic detriment to food applications like breakfast cereals.
For more information on mildew damage access the Grain Research Laboratory paper on Factors affecting processing performance.
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