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New disease guide for growers

GRAIN growers are better equipped to access and manage their disease risk this season thanks to the recent release of Agriculture Victoria’s cereal and pulse disease guides.

The annual crop disease guides, which are produced with support from the Grains Research and Development Corporation, detail how susceptible new and commonly grown wheat, barley, oats, triticale, lentil, chickpea, field pea, faba bean, lupin and vetch varieties are to a range of crop diseases.

This year’s edition of the Pulse Disease Guide will be of particular interest to growers as it includes an explanation of a new pulse disease rating system being implemented this year.

Agriculture Victoria Research Scientist Joshua Fanning said pulse disease rating definitions have been revised nationally.

“Some disease ratings have changed to reflect this,” he said.

“Growers should consult the current disease guide for the latest ratings and definitions to plan disease management.”

Dr Fanning, who specialises in pulse diseases, said a dry spring last year minimised the impact of diseases on Victorian pulse crops last season.

“However, there were widespread reports of significant crop losses due to bacterial blight in field peas and sclerotinia white mould in both lentil and chickpea crops across the Wimmera and Mallee,” he said.

“This season, a proactive disease management strategy will reduce the risk of pulse diseases and subsequent yield losses.

“Due to the high risk posed by stubble borne diseases growers should not double crop paddocks with pulses.”

For cereal growers, the Cereal Disease Guide, provides updated information on crop disease ratings and advice on how to reduce the risk from fungicide resistance.

Agriculture Victoria Senior Research Scientist Grant Hollaway said resistance to fungicides was becoming more common and was most likely to develop in situations where growers were over reliant on chemicals for disease control.

“Growers can help protect the longevity of currently effective fungicides by avoiding growing highly susceptible crop varieties, rotating crops to avoid planting in paddocks where disease may be present and controlling volunteer plants and weeds (the green bridge),” he said.

Dr Hollaway recommended the use of seed and fertiliser treatments and to avoid unnecessary fungicide use.

“If fungicide is the most appropriate disease control option, growers should use products with more than one mode of action,” he said.

“And they should not use the same active ingredient more than once within a season.”

The 2020 Pulse and Cereal Disease Guides are available on the Agriculture Victoria website.

To download the Cereal Disease Guide go to: http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/pests-diseases-and-weeds/plant-diseases/grains-pulses-and-cereals/cereal-disease-guide.

To download the Pulse Disease Guide go to: http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/pests-diseases-and-weeds/plant-diseases/grains-pulses-and-cereals/pulse-disease-guide.