Guide to fighting crop diseases

Agriculture Victoria’s 2022 Cereal Disease Guide can help with disease management. Photo by Rodney Woods

Grain growers are urged to consider their disease management plans for their winter crops, using Agriculture Victoria’s 2022 Cereal Disease Guide.

Produced with support from the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the guide provides updated information on crop disease ratings and advice on how to reduce the risk from disease.

Checking the latest cereal disease ratings is an important step for all grain growers when making plans for this season.

Agriculture Victoria senior research scientist Grant Hollaway said an example of a disease that would be important this season was stripe rust, which could cause significant yield losses in wheat.

“There will be disease carryover on volunteer cereals growing over summer due to recent above average rainfall,” he said.

“Due to the long-range dispersal of rust spores, even the green bridge in NSW will have implications for Victorian growers.”

Dr Hollaway said because of the heightened risk posed by stripe rust this year, it would be important to remove volunteer cereals before the end of March and plant rust-resistant varieties of wheat when possible.

“We encourage growers to consider use of seed or fertiliser applied fungicides and monitor crops closely,” he said.

In planning for the increased risk from stripe rust, and other diseases, growers should review the disease ratings in the new cereal disease guide.

Dr Hollaway said the disease ratings could identify which varieties were at risk from disease this year and require additional management during the season.

“Another reason to check the new guide is because a variety’s rating can change. Therefore, changes in disease management may also be required,” he said.

He recommends using the tablet-based app StripeRustWM, to support in-crop fungicide decisions. The app is free for iPad and Android tablet users and can be downloaded from the Apple App or Google Play stores.

The new disease ratings provided in the cereal disease guide are based on an understanding of the diseases present in Victoria and on data collected from plant pathologists working across Australia with support from the GRDC.

The 2022 Cereal Disease Guide is available on the Agriculture Victoria website.