Over 60 per cent of WA wheat varieties are at risk from stripe rust, a disease which has systematically infected every other state in the country.
Recently completed trials at Horsham, Victoria, supported by growers and the Federal Government through the GRDC, investigated the susceptibility of wheats from across the country.
"WA crops were found to be most at risk, with the highest frequency of susceptible lines," reported Narembeen farmer and GRDC Western Regional Panel member Malcolm Sedgwick.
More than a third of WA varieties fell into the very susceptible category, with another quarter moderately susceptible.
"It's a call to action, but we must move fast, because if we don't, the disease will," Mr Sedgwick said.
"Controlling volunteer wheat is the best preventative measure we can recommend at the moment and, if it gets here, we want to keep it under control," he said.
The disease forms yellow stripes along the leaf veins of plants and can spread to the head, shrivelling it or preventing seed from forming.
Growers can identify infection by yellow patches, 1-10 metres across, forming in their paddocks. When rubbed, the spores leave a yellow smear on the finger.
Mr Sedgwick urged wheat growers who suspect they have encountered stripe rust to immediately submit a sample to AGWEST.
Contact: Mr Malcolm Sedgwick 08 9880 8035