Larger canola plantings may have been responsible for unusually severe outbreaks of viruses in the northern region’s chickpea crops last year.
Joop van Leur, NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) plant pathologist says the link is as yet unproven but it is likely canola crops hosted viruses including Beet western yellows virus (BWYV) which then spread to chickpeas.
“Canola and turnip weed close to surveyed chickpea paddocks showed high infections of BWYV and Turnip mosaic virus (TuMV) and have likely played an important role in the BWYV epidemic in chickpeas,” Mr van Leur said.
He warns growers that the outbreak of BWYV was especially severe on the Liverpool Plains, NSW last year and was costly as it wiped out several chickpea crops completely.
“Last year the area sown to canola was about five times the long term average because of better prices for canola and poor prices for other crops,” Mr van Leur said.
“It is likely that virus inoculum builds up in canola over winter and spreads to chickpeas in spring where it can cause severe yield losses.”
He says growers need to pay attention to the whole farming system and growing environment of their crops to ensure plants are healthy enough to fight incursions.
“Viruses are more severe in poor growing paddocks,” he said.
“A good growing plant seems to have the ability to withstand the virus, so it is well worth following recommended agronomic practices to reduce the chance of virus infection and increases the ability of plant to resist the virus.”
This includes sowing in standing stubble because virus-spreading aphids tend to be more attracted to plants that are in poor growing paddocks or growing in bare ground, he said.
“We try to identify resistance as part of the breeding program so we can deliver varieties with improved resistance.”
The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) supports research into breeding of new varieties via Pulse Breeding Australia (PBA).
GRDC also funds a collaborative research project into the identification and utilisation of virus resistance in chickpeas and lentils involving NSW DPI, Tamworth, the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), and the DPI Victoria virology laboratory, Horsham, Victoria.
Video caption: Joop van Leur, NSW DPI plant pathologist discusses the probable cause of virus outbreaks in chickpeas in 2012.
Photo caption: Joop van Leur, NSW DPI plant pathologist says growers should provide chickpeas with optimal growing conditions to resist virus outbreaks.
For interviews contact:
Joop van Leur
02 6763 1204
Cox Inall Communications
07 3846 4380
0412 290 673
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