New disease management ally for northern growers

Author: Sarah Jeffrey | Date: 09 Apr 2015

Caption 1: A feature of the new IDM factsheet are two ready reckoner tables summarising the disease implications of planting common crops of the northern region following both sunflower and other summer grains soil and stubble borne diseases.

Caption 2: Better Sunflowers Coordinator Liz Alexander said integrated disease management was crucial if northern growers were to maximise the productivity and profitability of crops.

Northern grain growers have a powerful new ally in the management of crop disease following the recent launch of a new Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) GrowNotes `Tips and Tactics’ fact sheet.

The Sunflower Disease Management `Tips and Tactics’ is one of the most comprehensive integrated disease management guides ever produced for the northern grains industry.

It forms part of the GRDC GrowNotes suite of `know more, grow more’ products and was showcased at the recent GRDC Grains Research Updates at Coonabarabran and Goondiwindi.

The publication encourages a whole of farming systems approach to disease management and provides in-depth advice on sunflower disease awareness, inoculum reduction through crop rotation, the potential disease implications of various rotation strategies, weed control, stubble management and chemical control options.

Coordinator of the Better Sunflowers project funded by the GRDC and Australian Oilseeds Foundation, Liz Alexander said the publication included “ready reckoner” tables aimed to help growers manage disease across the farming system and weigh up the risks and benefits of different rotation options.

“This is the first time this information has been collated in a single document and in a simple comparable format across northern region crops,” Ms Alexander said.

“The ready reckoner tables are designed for the ute, glovebox or office wall. One table summarises the disease implications of planting 16 common crops of the northern region following important sunflower soil and stubble borne diseases,” she said.

“The second ready reckoner table provides growers and advisers with a tool to quickly and easily compare the rotational benefits and disease risks of crop selection following common diseases of other northern region crops.

“For some, sunflower has a reputation for disease issues but this table clearly displays the crop’s advantages as a profitable break crop for diseases of many crops.”

Ms Alexander said effective disease management required growers to select and implement a number of complementary strategies to minimise crop losses and maximise sunflower yield and oil quality.

“Integrated disease management in sunflower requires implementation of sound farm hygiene, effective paddock rotations, appropriate agronomic and chemical practices, and the use of disease resistant hybrids where available,” she said.

“An understanding of the diseases of sunflower, the source of pathogen inoculum, methods of spread, symptoms of infection, and the potential impacts of environment and management options on yield and quality is essential.

“This fact sheet provides a one-stop shop for information, industry resources and links to ensure that crop production and profitability are maximised.”

She said integrated disease management had a whole-of-farm focus rather than individual paddocks or crops and should be implemented by all northern growers regardless of whether or not a disease problem currently existed.

The Sunflower Disease Management `Tips and Tactics’ provides links to other useful agronomic management resources such as the GRDC Sunflower GrowNotes, additional GRDC factsheets on powdery mildew, phomopsis stem canker and root lesion nematodes, NSW Department of Primary Industries Summer Crop Production Guide and the Better Sunflowers disease enquiry service.

A copy can be downloaded from the GRDC website or the Better Sunflowers website.


Contact Details

For Interviews

Liz Alexander, Better Sunflowers Coordinator
0429 471 511

For more information

Sue Thompson Research Fellow (Summer Crops Pathology)
University of Southern Queensland
0477 718 593


Sarah Jeffrey, Senior Consultant Cox Inall Communications
0418 152 859

GRDC Project Code DAQ000186, PAL00019

Region North