Australian wheat growers have been called on to join a new ‘Stop the Spot’ campaign and help researchers cut losses from what is arguably the country’s most costly wheat disease – yellow spot.
Yellow spot, known overseas as tan spot, causes national wheat crop losses of $212 million, plus control costs of $463 million per annum. In hard hits areas, losses can exceed $30 per hectare.
The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and Curtin University have launched the national Stop the Spot campaign with the aim of significantly reducing the economic impact of yellow spot.
Caroline Moffat, who leads yellow spot research at Curtin University’s Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM), said increased engagement between growers and researchers would be key to achieving this.
“Collaboration will be crucial to allow researchers to recover current strains of the fungus, monitor the pathogen and stay on top of any changes, so that we are best placed to combat it,” she said.
Specific aims of Stop the Spot include:
- Developing and testing an early detection system for increases in the virulence of the yellow spot pathogen
- Screening for yellow spot pathogenicity mechanisms
- Developing biosecurity advice for industry
- Providing a national snapshot of yellow spot
“An important by-product of Stop the Spot will be the development of tools and markers for wheat breeders, tailored to current yellow spot fungal strains,” Dr Moffat said.
She said that by taking part in the campaign, growers would be the first to know about new research outcomes.
“To get involved, go to www.stopthespot.com.au and request a sample kit. We will send you pre-paid envelopes and a sampling form,” Dr Moffat said.
“Then if you suspect your wheat crop is infected by yellow spot, simply pick a couple of infected leaves and post them to us.
“Combined results from samples submitted will be sent out towards the end of the cropping season.”
More information about yellow spot is available at the Stop the Spot website and in the GRDC Yellow Spot Fact Sheet at www.grdc.com.au/GRDC-FS-YellowSpotWest.
Caroline Moffat, CCDM
08 9266 9186
Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827
GRDC Project Code