The Current and Potential Costs from Diseases of Wheat in Australia

Cover page of Current and Potential Costs of Disease in Wheat in Australia

The allocation of resources for the control of wheat diseases, both at the grower level when deciding whether to control a particular disease and at the national level when allocating funds for research and development, depends on an assessment of the losses caused by those diseases. In this study, the estimates of wheat disease losses have been updated by a survey of wheat pathologists across Australia. 

An examination has been made of the present costs of wheat diseases and the potential costs if current control measures were not in place, as well as the value of controls including fungicide use and levels of disease resistance in the varieties grown. These figures provide key insights into the importance of wheat diseases in Australia.

Wheat diseases cause an estimated current average annual loss of $913 million, or $76.64 per hectare, to the Australian wheat industry. This loss is 19.5 per cent of the average annual value of the wheat crop over the past decade. Nationally, five diseases dominate these losses:

Disease  $/ha $ million
Yellow spot   17.82 212
Stripe rust 10.62 127
Septoria nodorum blotch 9.07 108
Crown rot 6.63 79
Pratylenchus neglectus 6.13 73
Total losses from others 26.37 314
Total present loss 76.64 913

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