Message service gives pea growers green light to avoid blackspot

Author: | Date: 31 Jan 2012

Jenny Davidson

Message service gives pea growers green light to avoid blackspot

Technology is coming to the aid of South Australian field pea growers looking to avoid blackspot infection as they sow their crops this coming season.

The optimum dates for sowing will be communicated to growers via a phone short messaging service (SMS) that will inform subscribers of the risk of blackspot in April and early May. The information from Blackspot Manager will be specific for individual farms, with local climate data used to run the model.

The service, supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and validated in South Australia with funds from South Australian Grains Industry Trust (SAGIT), is an extension of the Blackspot Manager website which provides an online sowing guide for growers of field peas. This model was developed and is run by Dr Moin Salam of Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia.
South Australian Research and Development Institute senior pulse pathologist, Jenny Davidson, is encouraging SA growers to subscribe to the new service that is being offered free of charge.

“The SMS service will give growers direct information about sowing dates that offer the best potential for reducing blackspot in field pea crops,” said Ms Davidson.

Estimated to reduce field pea yields by 15 per cent, blackspot is a significant disease for SA pea growers.

Blackspot Manager was developed by the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, to predict the release pattern of airborne spores for different regions in an individual season. This information can be used to determine sowing dates that are low disease risk. Outputs from the model for general regions will continue to be accessible at the website www.agric.wa.gov.au/cropdiseases.

“Blackspot spores are released into the air from infected stubble with rainfall,” Ms Davidson said. “By knowing when that risk is highest, the sowing date of field peas can be manipulated to minimise exposure to the airborne blackspot spores.
“Primary infection of blackspot is reduced if field pea crops are sown after the majority of blackspot spores have been released from infected pea stubble.”

Ms Davidson said other factors that assist in minimising the incidence of blackspot include avoiding planting pea crops adjacent to pea stubbles and avoiding water logging.

Growers wishing to subscribe to the Blackspot Manager SMS service can contact Jenny Davidson on 08 8303 9389 or email jenny.davidson@sa.gov.au.

Information about the Blackspot Manager model can be accessed via the Department of Agriculture and Food, WA, website www.agric.wa.gov.au/cropdiseases.

More information about blackspot and other pulse diseases is available from the GRDC, via www.grdc.com.au/diseaselinks.

ENDS

IMAGE CAPTION: SA Research and Development Institute senior pulse pathologist, Jenny Davidson, is encouraging SA field pea growers to subscribe to the new message service that will directly communicate the risk of blackspot disease.

GRDC Project Code: DAW00207

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For interviews: Jenny Davidson
(08) 8303 9389

Contact: Sharon Watt
Porter Novelli
0409 675100

GRDC Project Code DAW00207