DAQ00186 - Improving grower surveillance, management epidemiology knowledge and tools to manage crop disease - DAFFQ

Project Summary

Project Start Date
10 March 2017
Project End Date
31 December 2017
Supervisor Name
Anke Martin
University of Southern Queensland

The GRDC Northern Region is unique in Australia, in that summer field crops play a very important role in the varied farming systems from central NSW to central Queensland. Although wheat is the dominant field crop in the region, other field crops - chickpea, sorghum, maize, the summer oilseeds (including sunflower, soybean) and pulses (mungbean, peanut) - play an important role by providing disease breaks, opportunities to respond to high commodity prices and to maintain farm diversity. It has been estimated (Murray and Brennan, 2009, 2012) that diseases of field crops in the Northern Region cost the agricultural industry in the order of $400 million/year.

In the Northern Region, diseases of field crops directly affect grain quality and yield and affect rotational crops through their impact on inoculum of common pathogens. For example, crops that are susceptible to root lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus species) increase nematode populations for future crops, placing them at higher risk of yield losses. Similarly, rotations of maize and wheat in the cooler, wetter areas of the Northern Region (e.g. Liverpool Plains) often result in an increase in inoculum of Fusarium graminearum, putting both crops at greater risk.

Integrated Disease Management (IDM) using various combinations of cultural, fungicide and resistance strategies offer the most viable long-term option for controlling the significant field crop diseases in the Northern Region. This project aims to build on the advances in IDM of major summer and winter crops made in the GRDC-funded project DAQ00154. The DAFFQ summer and winter field crops pathology teams at Toowoomba are providing integrated disease management (IDM), crop surveillance, extension, education and training services to Queensland and will be collaborating closely with NSWDPI staff at Tamworth to bring a united approach to field crops pathology in the GRDC Northern Region.

This project aims to reduce the impact of endemic, emerging and exotic diseases through:

    1. Surveillance and diagnostic activities which will result in the identification and quantification of disease threats in the Northern Region, enabling rapid and appropriate responses to disease outbreaks.
    2. Development of integrated management strategies for important field crop diseases in the Northern Region through targeted field and glasshouse research.
    3. Extension of IDM packages and information on the prevalence and importance of endemic and emerging diseases in the Northern Region to assist growers and industry reduce their impact.

Key objectives of the project are to:

    • Determine the incidence, severity and distribution of endemic and emerging field crop disease issues including viruses in the Northern Region through structured surveys conducted in collaboration with NSWDPI, to enable rapid response to significant disease outbreaks and to assist in research prioritisation.
    • Provide summer and winter field crop diagnostic support to growers and advisers in the Northern Region, ensuring timely and accurate diagnoses.
    • Improve the knowledge of the biology and management of important field crop diseases in the Northern Region by providing training at workshops and structured courses to growers, advisers and industry.
    • Effectively communicate IDM information for summer and winter field crops in the Northern Region through a range of media including e-newsletters, GRDC Updates, websites, grower and adviser meetings, field days, radio and on-line interviews, etc.
    • Support winter cereal trials conducted by Northern Grower Alliance and GRDC-funded agronomy projects through the provision of advice and protocols.
    • In collaboration with NSWDPI, identify chickpea germplasm with resistance to the Phytophthora root rot pathogen and participate in development of IDM strategies for the disease.
    • Contribute to the identification of mungbean breeding lines with resistance to the halo blight pathogen through the determination of pathogenicity of isolates to a key set of mungbean germplasm.
    • Quantify the relative tolerances of new sunflower hybrids to tobacco streak virus in central Queensland by conducting replicated field trials.
    • Develop IDM packages for major root diseases of peanuts, particularly Neocosmospora root rot, based on the results of intensive research into the biology of the disease and different management options.
    • Determine the roles of weeds and host and non-host plant residues in the survival of important stubble-borne diseases of summer field crops and their potential impact on rotations in the farming systems of the GRDC Northern Region.
    • In collaboration with NSWDPI and GRDC, prioritise field crops pathology issues in the Northern Region and conduct R,D&E activities to address these issues.


Published Date
1 November 2016

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