UK Cereal Pathogen Virulence Survey


The UK Cereal Pathogen Virulence Survey (UKCPVS) monitors cereal rusts and mildews in the UK, detecting and warning industry and growers of new races of disease emerging on resistant varieties. It is funded by Defra and AHDB and has been managed by NIAB since its inception over 50 years ago.

The role of UKCPVS includes:

  • Monitoring changes in virulence of UK cereal pathogen populations
  • Maintaining and improving variety disease resistance allowing growers to prioritise other characteristics such as yield and quality when choosing a variety
  • Enabling breeders and variety testing authorities to screen out potential new varieties and breeding lines that are too susceptible to new races of disease before they get to the AHDB Recommended List stage or onto farm
  • Providing information to assist disease risk management on farm; underpinning AHDB RL disease resistance ratings and assessing the threat that each new race poses to the full range of commercial varieties.

Disease sampling

UKCPVS sampling instructions

UKCPVS is always checking for new races of cereal rusts and mildews across the UK. We rely on samples sent in by growers, agronomists, plant breeders and official trials operators, so we can check for new variations of these key wheat and barley diseases.

For the 2024 season, UKCPVS is focusing on wheat yellow and wheat brown rust and requests samples of leaves showing symptoms of either of the two diseases. These infected leaves will give the team at NIAB the isolates needed to conduct the survey to identify any possible changes in the race of the diseases as soon as possible.

We welcome samples at any time of year. The majority are sent through in May, June and July - the peak of the rust and mildew season - but we receive some in the autumn when conditions have been mild enough for the disease to carry on from the season before. Samples can be from any variety, but we are especially interested in varieties which are noted as resistant to the different diseases at that time.

*Please note putting a geographical delivery address on the envelope will invalidate the Freepost service, incur a charge and delivery will be severely delayed. Please only use the words 'FREEPOST UKCPVS' on the front of the envelope to ensure your sample reaches us quickly. Thank you!


UKCPVS holds an annual stakeholder meeting. Targeted at breeders, crop scientists and technical agronomists, the event in early spring each year, reports on recent seedling test results and adult plant nursery tests. It features a number of related technical papers based on pathogen virulence experience from across the globe.