New findings of barley leaf rust in Western Australia’s southern cropping regions have prompted a warning to growers to inspect their crops now for the costly disease and spray infected crops early.
Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) plant pathologist Kith Jayasena, whose research is supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), said the disease had been confirmed this month in barley crops at South Stirlings and Woogenellup in the Great Southern and at several locations in the Esperance region.
The fungal disease was evident in barley regrowth in these regions in February 2012.
Dr Jayasena said leaf rust could cause yield losses of up to 45 per cent in untreated susceptible barley varieties and could also reduce grain quality.
“The increased screenings and inferior grain colour caused by barley leaf rust can mean that growers fail to achieve higher priced malting grades for barley,” he said.
Dr Jayasena said GRDC supported research conducted by DAFWA at South Stirlings in 2011 had shown the best economic returns for barley leaf rust control were achieved when registered products were applied early at the onset of the disease.
“Growers should read product labels carefully and be aware that some products may have restrictions on the total rate of product that may be applied to a crop,” he said.
More information about managing rust is available in the DAFWA FarmNote 288 ‘Managing barley leaf diseases’ which can be found by clicking on ‘publications’ then ‘FarmNotes’ at the DAFWA website www.agric.wa.gov.au
Information on rust management can also be found at www.rustbust.com.au
Rust Bust is an initiative of the Australian Cereal Rust Control Program (ACRCP) consultative committee, supported by the GRDC.
PHOTO CAPTION: Barley leaf rust.
PHOTO CAPTION: DAFWA plant pathologist Kith Jayasena addresses growers and industry representatives at the Esperance Downs Research Station field day in 2011.
For interviews: Kith Jayasena
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Contact: Natalie Lee
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