New blackleg ratings released for canola cultivars

Author: Natalie Lee | Date: 12 Sep 2016

Severe blackleg leaf lesions on canola late in the season. Photo by Brad Collis.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) 2016 Spring Blackleg Management Guide Fact Sheet, developed by the National Canola Pathology team, has been released.

Available on the GRDC website at this link, the fact sheet outlines specific steps to manage blackleg and includes cultivar blackleg ratings and resistance groups for all canola cultivars including new cultivars which will be available in 2017.

The resource can help growers assess if they are in a high-risk situation and guide them to minimise future yield losses.

Determining levels of blackleg disease in canola crops this spring can assist growers to plan ahead and reduce their risk of the disease in coming seasons.

Blackleg is a sexually reproducing pathogen that will overcome cultivar resistance genes and is more severe in areas of intensive canola production.

It has been at high levels in Western Australian canola crops this season.

Oilseeds disease authority Steve Marcroft, of Marcroft Grains Pathology, said that to assess disease levels in current crops, samples could be taken any time from the end of flowering to windrowing (swathing).

“Pull 60 randomly chosen stalks out of the ground, cut off the roots with a pair of secateurs and, using reference photos in the GRDC fact sheet, estimate the amount of disease in the stem cross-section,” he said.

“Yield loss commonly occurs when more than 50 per cent of the cross-section of the cut stem is discoloured.”

Dr Marcroft said that if growers identified that they were in a high risk situation, they should use management practices – outlined in the fact sheet – to reduce blackleg severity for coming seasons.

“They should also rotate between cultivars with different resistance genes to reduce the probability of resistance breakdown and reduce disease severity,” he said.

Dr Marcroft said that if growers identified that they were in a low risk situation and had not identified yield loss due to blackleg infection when assessing their crop, they should continue with their current management practices.

As well as advising growers to monitor canola crops in spring to determine yield losses in the current crop, the GRDC 2016 Spring Blackleg Management Guide Fact Sheet advises growers:

  • To never sow your canola crop into last year’s canola stubble
  • To choose a cultivar with adequate blackleg resistance for your region
  • That relying only on fungicides to control blackleg poses a high risk of fungicide resistance
  • That if monitoring has identified yield loss and you have grown the same cultivar for three years or more, to choose a cultivar from a different resistance group

Contact Details

For Interviews

Steve Marcroft, Marcroft Grains Pathology
03 5381 2294

Ken Young, GRDC General Manager Crop Protection
02 6166 4500


Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827

GRDC Project Code MPG00004

Region North, West