Soilborne diseases remain an important constraint to grain crop production in Australia, estimated to cost grain growers over $370 million each year. Common diseases in the Western region include Rhizoctonia, crown rot, root lesion nematode, cereal cyst nematode and take all. Irrespective of the disease, any pathogen that affects the roots, ultimately limits the uptake of water and nutrients and is therefore, an important contributor to the yield gap.
Despite the significance of the issue, diagnosing plant diseases and particularly soilborne pathogens can be difficult. Growers mostly rely on above-ground symptoms, which is problematic as diseases have hard to distinguish from each other, other crop issues, and the change in farming practice to early sowing has minimised in-season expression.
The soilborne pathogen project will deliver an integrated set of activities to provide growers and advisers with knowledge and experience identifying and managing soilborne cereal pathogens. The Grower Group Alliance in partnership with The Liebe Group, West Midlands Group, MADFIG, Stirlings to Coast, and SEPWA will be conducting the following activities in 2021.
A series of demonstration trials are about to be sown across the state. These trials are located on paddocks with a history of disease and are using farmer practice to test three practical management solutions.
From late July through early September DPIRD cereal pathologists Dominie Wright, Sarah Collins and Daniel Huberli will be holding workshops with the partnering grower groups. Growers are encouraged to bring in their own plant samples to the workshop to learn how to detect root diseases and choose suitable management techniques. Workshops will be held at the demonstration sites allowing growers to see current practices in action and talk to the host growers.
Stay tuned for the next update with workshop dates and the management options being trailed at each location.
Contact: Michelle Condy