Must read guide for winter croppers

Author: Rachel Bowman | Date: 28 Jun 2013

A timely refresher in cereal fungicide management is now available for northern region graingrowers heading into the danger period for costly diseases such as stripe rust.

The new GRDC fact sheet, Cereal fungicides – Northern Region outlines how and why growers should assess disease risk and carefully consider control options.

Dr Ken Young, Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) manager plant health technologies says fungicides are only one component of a good management strategy and a preventative approach is best.

“Good management practices such as controlling the green bridge for cereal rusts, attention to potential risk of stubble-borne leaf disease when deciding on crop rotations, and choosing the most resistant variety for the conditions will reduce the reliance on fungicides and disease pressure overall,” Dr Young said.

“Other considerations include the seasonal outlook, variety selection and treatment plans if disease develops quickly.”

He says once crops are established, disease control using fungicides becomes an economic decision.

“In the absence of diseases or any threat of diseases, it is uneconomical and unnecessary to apply fungicides.

“Growers need to understand the role of the season and have a plan in place, and if growing susceptible varieties have the right chemicals on hand.

“We advocate monitoring crops throughout the season and spraying if disease threatens key plant parts of varieties that are moderately susceptible (MS) to very susceptible (VS).”

He says fungicides do not increase yield; they protect yield potential and cannot retrieve yield lost once disease is established.

Fungicide resistance is an important issue for powdery mildew control in WA and
may develop in other states and other pathogens in the future so repeat applications
of the same active ingredient is not recommended, he says.

The state agricultural departments offer disease cereal disease diagnosis services and rust samples can be analysed at the Plant Breeding Institute, NSW.

Cereal disease diagnosis:

Do not send samples in plastic. Samples of infected tissue should be in paper packaging – paper bags, envelopes or wrapped in newspaper – to one of the following researchers:

  • Steven Simpfendorfer, NSW DPI, 4 Marsden Park Rd, Tamworth NSW 2340
  • Stephen Neate, DAFFQ, Leslie Research Centre, PO Box 2282, Toowoomba QLD 4350
  • Greg Platz, DAFFQ, Hermitage Research Facility, 604 Yangan Road, Warwick QLD 4370

Rust samples:
Samples of rust-infected plant tissue should be sent in paper packaging to:
  • Australian Cereal Rust Survey, Plant Breeding Institute, Private Bag 4011, Narellan NSW 2567

To download the fact sheet, visit


Contact Details
For Interviews
Dr Ken Young,
GRDC Program Manager Plant Health Technologies
02 6166 4500

Rachel Bowman, Senior Consultant, Cox Inall Communications
07 3846 4380 0412 290 673

GRDC Project Code CUR 0010, CUR 00015, CUR 00016, DAW00190, DAW00210, GRS10035, ICN00010, UMU00031, DAS00099

Region North, South, West