Pulse and oilseed diseases which cost growers in the southern cropping region tens of millions of dollars every year are being tackled head-on through a suite of research programs being funded by the Grain Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
The GRDC is taking a three-pronged approach to disease prevention and management by: developing oilseed and pulse varieties with greater resistance to foliar fungal diseases; keeping abreast of fungal disease dynamics; and developing and extending management packages to control foliar fungal diseases on-farm and prolong the useful life of Australia’s fungicide options.
Dr Sharyn Taylor, GRDC manager of plant health surveillance and mitigation, says GRDC-commissioned reports indicate that the annual national cost of oilseed and pulse diseases is more than $210 million – a large portion of which is incurred in the southern region, which comprises South Australia, Victoria, southern and central New South Wales and Tasmania.
“But managing diseases of pulses and oilseeds at the right time, with the right control methods, can substantially reduce their impact, thereby improving the role of these crops as profitable breaks within rotations,” Dr Taylor said.
Variety resistance is the most sustainable way to manage fungal diseases – a principle that guides the GRDC’s ongoing and substantial commitment to finding new genes that confer disease resistance to Australian crop varieties.
At the farm level, the work of plant pathology teams across Australia is underpinning the effective management and monitoring of oilseed and pulse foliar fungal diseases. “Surveillance work by such teams is capturing the changing dynamics of foliar fungal pathogens and enabling plant breeders to monitor changing resistance status and stay abreast with new sources of varietal resistance,” Dr Taylor said.
With fungicide resistance a constant threat, integrated disease management (IDM) involving a range of practices is needed to reduce the impact of plant diseases and to extend the life of the limited number of available fungicides.
Recommended IDM practices are outlined in the GRDC’s new Foliar Fungal Diseases of Pulse and Oilseeds Ground Cover Supplement which also details the various GRDC-funded programs addressing oilseed and pulse disease.
Sharyn Taylor, GRDC
02 6166 4500
Sharon Watt, Porter Novelli
Caption: Canola disease sclerotinia stem rot is being addressed through a suite of research programs being funded by the GRDC. Photo: Kurt Lindbeck.
GRDC Project Code
UM00051, CUR00020, DAS00139, PBC00003, UM00052, DAS00139, DAN00176, UA00127, CUR00023, DAV00117, DAQ00186, DAN00151