Grains Research and Development

Date: 03.06.2011

Cereal disease management planning critical this season

Stripe rust

Cereal disease management planning critical this season

Grain growers throughout the southern cropping region are being reminded of the critical need for cereal disease management planning this season.

With many crops now sown and the threat of an unprecedented cereal rust risk looming, growers are advised to put in place disease management strategies for the remainder of the year.

Cereal rust expert Dr Colin Wellings, from the University of Sydney’s Plant Breeding Institute, says proactive planning for anticipated in-season foliar sprays is now a priority.

“Growers need to know what to expect with the disease response of each variety of crop sown,” said Dr Wellings, whose work is supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

“If a variety is known to be vulnerable to rust, the crop should be monitored regularly.”

Maintaining awareness of regional and district rust issues as the season develops is also important, according to Dr Wellings, who is on secondment from the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries.

“Grain growers are encouraged to be prepared to act in a timely manner should an outbreak of rust occur.”

Dr Wellings said foliar fungicide choice would be governed by variations in efficacy, availability and price, and he recommended that growers seek expert local advice about fungicide selection.

The southern cropping region (southern NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania) is facing the worst cereal disease risk in nearly 40 years due to increased inoculum levels in crops during 2010 and the potential for carry over on abundant volunteer plants following high summer rainfall in many parts.

In response to this heightened risk, a new campaign was recently launched by the Australian Cereal Rust Control Program (ACRCP), encouraging growers to be proactive and plan their 2011 rust management strategy.

Supported by the GRDC, the Rust Bust campaign gives growers tips on more effectively managing rust and adopting a ‘select and protect’ strategy.

The ultimate goal of the campaign is to encourage growers to phase out susceptible and very susceptible varieties from their rotation where possible but if these cultivars are grown, then farmers need a management plan ready in advance in case of a rust outbreak.
Dr Wellings said disease reporting and sample collection would be crucial this season, enabling the grains industry to maintain awareness of outbreaks and spread.

Growers and advisers should send leaves carrying rust infection, in paper envelopes, to: Australian Cereal Rust Survey, Plant Breeding Institute, PO Box 4011, Narellan, NSW 2567.

Sample information (location, variety if known, date) and collector’s contact details (preferably an email address so results can be reported in a timely manner) should be included with the sample.

More information about cereal rust prevention and management strategies is available from the Rust Bust website, www.rustbust.com.au, or via the GRDC’s cereal diseases online information hub, www.grdc.com.au/diseaselinks.

ENDS

Caption: Reporting of cereal diseases, such as stripe rust (pictured), and sample collection will be crucial this season, enabling the grains industry to maintain awareness of outbreaks and spread.

• For more information contact Dr Colin Wellings on (02) 9351 8826.

• www.grdc.com.au/US00039

• GRDC Project Code: US00039

• This media release and other media products are available via www.grdc.com.au/media

GRDC Project Code US00039